The Economic Impact of COVID-19: An Initial Analysis from Premise

The Economic Impact of COVID-19: An Initial Analysis from Premise


By Jeff Nikolaisen | Solutions Consultant

As cases of COVID-19 are discovered in new countries on a near-daily basis and expand rapidly within the United States, Premise has started surveying contributors worldwide—over 100,000 responses in the first week—to understand how their lives have been changed or otherwise impacted since the virus was first reported on December 31, 2019. 

Premise launched its Economic Impact survey on March 2nd and plans to have the survey reoccur every week to uncover trends as COVID-19 continues to impact nations around the globe. Questions cover topics like concerns about the virus spreading through their community, alterations to shopping behaviors, changes to planned travel, new work-from-home policies or school closures, and impact on investments. Responses varied by country but some global trends have emerged.

Global Impacts

Global awareness of COVID-19 is widespread—more than 8 in 10 (84%) respondents say they are aware of the virus and of those, over 90% are concerned or very concerned their community will be directly affected. Because of that concern, nearly two-thirds (65.1%) are making or considering preparations in advance of an outbreak in their area which is leading to product shortages—breathing masks, medicines and disinfectants are the three items respondents most frequently reported experiencing shortages in finding.

Over eight-in-ten (81.4%) believe COVID-19 is having an effect on the economy and over one-third believe their country’s economy will get worse before their economic conditions improve which is impacting overall spending, travel and event attendance.

Impact We’re Seeing in the United States 

Even those who aren’t currently making purchases in preparation of COVID-19—39% of our respondents aren’t considering preparations at all—half know of someone in their community who is making preparations for an outbreak. What are people stocking up on? Shortages may give insight into what those items people are stocking up on, and in the U.S. people are buying breathing masks, disinfectants, medication and basic household supplies (like toilet paper).

A majority (61%) of Americans are reporting that COVID-19 is not having an impact on their shopping habits to date, but a significant number (20%) are shopping more online and avoiding local stores. As the number of cases continues to increase and more states are impacted, these numbers are likely to shift and new trends may emerge each week as the survey continues.

Noticeably fewer Americans are reporting COVID-19 having impacts on their travel plans than Premise contributors worldwide. Currently, less than a quarter (22.5%) are reporting cancellation or alteration to travel plans but as more large events like South by Southwest and Adobe, which has transitioned their annual summit from a conference in Las Vegas to “an online experience” for attendees, are canceled, those numbers are also likely to change. Once the weight of these cancellations reverberate through the economy, changes to attitudes and spending patterns may emerge as a result.

Next Week & Looking to the Future

As each week passes economic impact trends will start to emerge across the globe and within each country.

In countries where the COVID-19 virus is just beginning to spread, will there be a movement away from shopping at brick and mortar stores to online shopping options? What will the impact be on the economic outlook in Italy after authorities moved to nearly lockdown the entire country, closing all businesses with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies? Will those attempts to flatten the curve be implemented in other countries as well?

So far this year the Dow Jones Industrial Average has shed over 8,500 points; will the sentiment that COVID-19 is not really impacting investment portfolios change as the stock market continues to fluctuate?

As the virus spreads, will more people make purchases to prepare and will product shortages in communities result?

Will telecommuting for school and work become increasingly more popular as more cases are discovered in the United States? A number of companies, including Premise, have asked their employees to work from home. 

Each week as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread, Premise is going to ask our network these same questions to provide a near real-time understanding of economic impacts and consumer behavior changes throughout the pandemic. Our goal as a company is to help people make better decisions through a greater understanding of the world. Check out www.premise.com/COVID-19 to learn more about the data we’re collecting, or email us at info@premise.com

About Jeff Nikolaisen

Jeff Nikolaisen is a Solutions Consultant at Premise working with Business Development Managers to deliver compelling product demonstrations to customers across all solutions. He has worked for over 15 years with government agencies across North America delivering enterprise software projects.