Different sectors are being affected by COVID-related challenges in different ways. The top business challenge remains a lack of customers – this is being felt by 67% of businesses across a range of sectors. However, those in the retail (both consumer and general goods) and agriculture are impacted by lack of supply, while those in the professional sector (primarily in education) are most affected by continued closures.
The financial picture seems to be slowly improving. We may be seeing a slight smoothening on the overall financial household impact – the proportion of those experiencing a significant negative impact is declining slowly, while those with slight negative impact is rising slowly. We’re seeing the same thing on the income impact data. In round five, 72% said their income had decreased greatly, compared to 61% in round six, the lowest proportion of those saying this since the start of our data collection. However, those saying that the decrease in income was only slight went from 22% to 29%. While most are still reporting negative impacts and outcomes, we think this shows slight improvements overall.
Little impact on credit terms. In round six, we began asking customers who borrowed money if they had seen any changes in their credit terms. Most of the 33% of clients who had borrowed to cope with COVID-19, had taken a loan from someone in their social network. We also found that over 80% said their loans hadn’t changed much. However, 8% said their interest rate had increased since COVID-19 started.