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Half of UK businesses turn to digital to survive pandemic

(Image credit: Image Credit: Coffee / Pixabay)

Most companies in the UK have been forced to overhaul their strategies in order to survive the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Opinium and LiveArea.

The report claims most organisations are now considering investing more heavily into digital solutions as a result of the pandemic. IT infrastructure and online commerce are the two most important factors under consideration, followed by outsourcing IT and marketing.

The study argues these changes are central to many firms' survival prospects, with a third of organisations facing permanent closure before the furlough scheme ends in October.

According to Opinium and LiveArea, half of companies have “stopped operating” and six percent have already closed permanently - and the pair believe the worst is yet to come.

Struggling businesses are calling for clarity from the government, increased intervention and financial support (grants and loans), and improved support for staff.

“Covid-19 will have a lasting impact on UK businesses. The pandemic has shone a light on the glaring vulnerabilities in our businesses, from tight margins and weak supply chains, to ineffective customer communication and delivery. In a post Covid-19 economy, the key to survival will be business agility,” said Elliott Jacobs, EMEA Commerce Consulting Director at LiveArea.

“No one will know the exact impact on consumer behaviour, so businesses need to build a strategy that can adapt instantly. Fundamentally, that means following a digital-first approach – developing the technology and culture to put online first. Those unable to make the shift are unlikely to see the end of 2020,” he added.