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The coronavirus pandemic is causing tectonic shifts for businesses. As physical stores close, consumer demand is also dropping. For most marketers, this means costs need to be cut. And for many, people are the place to start. 

A new Digiday survey about the early effects of the coronavirus on brands and retailers found that 39% of top execs expect to have layoffs due to the crisis. 

For a whopping 83% of respondents, the coronavirus will also cause them to miss their forecasts for the year. A total of 130 execs at brands and retailers took the survey.



The massive economic impact of the coronavirus is already being felt across the country. With physical retail largely shut down for many companies, the commerce department has found that sales declined 0.5% in February, the biggest drop in the past year. The expectation from marketers now is that March, and April, there will be even larger drops. Plus, as supply chains and distribution gets disrupted as people stay home and more people get sick, that’s going to have an impact on operations.

Last week, a staggering 3.3 million U.S. workers applied for unemployment.

According to Forrester, 40% of consumers expect personal economic situations to get worse over the next month. And while online buying is increasing, it’s not across the board: About 38% of Digiday respondents said they’re seeing an increase in online sales, while 54% said they’ve seen a decrease in physical sales already. 

The issue is about the same in media: Digiday Research found that 88% of publishing executives surveyed expect to miss their business goals this year due to the outbreak.

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