OVER EIGHT in 10 business leaders in Asia (84%) saw revenues slumping amid the impact of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with some chief executives expecting a drop in sales of at least 20% in the next year, a latest global survey with business heads reported Tuesday.

The new Chief Executive Global Survey by YPO, an international group of more than 29,000 business leaders, highlighted that 82% of almost 3,000 chief executives from across the globe expected declining revenues in the next six months.

The survey, which was conducted from March 10 to 13, noted that 41% of the respondents said they expect a huge blow on revenues by the third quarter of the year, while 19% expect a more than 20% decrease in sales by end-2020.

Besides Asian leaders, chief executives from other regions with the highest number of reported cases of COVID-19 infections, such as South Asia (78%), Middle East and North Africa or MENA (74%) and Europe (70%), have been bearing the brunt of the coronavirus disease pandemic on their revenues.

Inversely, business leaders from Australia and New Zealand (52%), the United States (50%) and Canada (45%) reported a minimal business impact of the spread of the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (sars-cov-2).

By industry, chiefs from the hospitality and travel (89%), education (87%) and media and entertainment (80%) industries were seen to be heavily burdened with the virus’s weight on their revenues.

Meanwhile, construction industry heads (36%) also saw an impact on revenues, while one in 10 of sector-specific retail and wholesale sector leaders, along with agriculture, factories, mine, and utilities firm chiefs, noticed a favorable business environment amid the disease pandemic.

As of March 16, the total number of COVID-19 infections across the world is approximately 167,511 with 6,606 fatalities. China still contributed to this number with 81,077 confirmed cases of infection and 3,218 deaths.

Besides the concerns on revenues (58%), business travel (87%) and new business development (62%) were also the areas where respondents felt the impact of the pandemic.

The report also showed that almost all of the respondents (95%) have carried out actions to stem the effect of COVID-19 in their businesses, including regular communication with employees and adopting new health and safety procedures.

Among the leaders polled, over six in 10 said they have canceled major events since the spread of the dreaded virus.

Moreover, the pandemic has driven business chiefs to shift short-term goals (32%), research new business innovations (28%) and make changes to their supply chains (18%).

In terms of workforce, 70% expected to have the same total number of employees over the next year, while businesses in MENA (33%), Europe (29%), and South Asia (27%), were most likely to consider lay off schemes.

On March 11, the World Health Organization described the global outbreak of COVID-19 as “the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.” — Adam J. Ang


COVID-19 impact and outlook from chief executives around the world