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Confidence up, buying is back, industry sales data indicates

Home Infrastructure Technology Confidence up, buying is back, industry sales data indicates

AGGREGATED monthly sales data from over 600 South African companies reports that 20 business sectors outperformed the pre-COVID first quarter of 2020.

Despite the impact of the lockdown that saw an initial decline in revenues for many South African businesses, 26 industry sectors showed positive signs of sales-revenue recovery in the first half of this year. This is according to the data presented by the Skynamo Industry Thermometer.

The thermometer is a free-to-access resource that benchmarks industry sales activity and sector health. It provides monthly sector reporting on average order values and volumes from over 500 South African manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors using the Skynamo field sales app to capture sales orders.

Skynamo is a South African field sales tech company which secured $30 million investment in 2020 from US software investment firm Five Elms Capital to accelerate adoption of its field sales app in the US, UK and South Africa.

The data for its industry thermometer is aggregated from field-sales operations in South Africa dating back to January 2020. In total, 26 industry sectors are tracked.

“When COVID-19 hit last year, there was an initial knee-jerk reaction that sent everyone indoors,” said CEO Sam Clarke. “Buying-trust was shaky as consumers and businesses tried to manage their overheads in the face of uncertainty.”

This uncertainty manifested with many business operations seeing a considerable decline in the value of orders received, although there was increased order placement frequency.  As the lockdown progressed and people started adjusting to a ‘new normal’, positive purchasing patterns have emerged.

“You can see a vast difference over time as lockdown levels dropped and restrictions eased up on business and social gatherings:  businesses started receiving higher value orders once again,” said Clarke.

“That’s a good sign. It shows that confidence in the marketplace is returning. The recovery that we’re witnessing now is positive, and our industry data tells us good news about the healthy growth in buying behaviour.”

Twenty of the 26 sectors monitored showed an increase in average order value for the period Jan to March 2021 vs the same three-month period in 2020, before the pandemic struck.

Although first quarter spend in 2021 showed a 12% decrease overall from that of the same timeframe for 2020, this is a remarkably low figure considering that January and February 2020 were in a world before COVID-19 existed.

As confidence in placing orders throughout the supply chain looks to be on a growth path, despite the tough economy, Skynamo saw an increase both in the number of orders placed and in the value size of these orders in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020.

Free of charge, the Skynamo Industry Thermometer provides data on the status of the economy, enabling businesses to measure themselves against industry competitors.

“We’re always looking at ways to help our customers make better sales decisions and increase sales. Our Industry Thermometer provides our customers – and the overall market – with a month-on-month view of the state of health of a cross-section of industries that can expose them to trends and help them in their decision-making process and sales planning,” Clarke said.

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