As the government looks to ease lockdown restrictions as a move to a ‘new normal’, according to the latest COVID-19 survey by Trend Tracker Ltd, it appears that UK bodyshops continue to suffer significant capacity shortages.
Bodyshop owners/managers who responded to the second COVID-19 survey stated the devastation of accident repair volumes along with cash flow and parts availability and discounts required as the three biggest concerns for their business. Nearly 55% of survey respondents do not see repair volumes returning to pre-pandemic levels before the end of Q1 2021 if they are to return at all.
When it comes to the supply chain, body repair businesses are reliant on an effective and efficient one. In ordinary times, the supply chain is effective and extremely supportive. Businesses from manufacturing plants to wholesalers and distributors have all been subject to their own business disruption as a direct result of COVID-19, and this has, in turn, affected UK bodyshops.
The survey asked how businesses rate their relationship (for service and support) with their immediate supply chain during the ‘lockdown’ period. 8% of businesses who took part in the survey, found the service was very poor from their green parts supplier whereas compared to non-OEM parts suppliers, the percentage was considerably lower at 2%. Although, it appears that a higher percentage of users of non-OEM suppliers are happier to use their service when compared to green parts suppliers. See the charts below comparing OEM, non-OEM and green parts suppliers.
The survey asked: On a scale of 1–10, with 1 being very poor – 10 being excellent, how would you rate your relationship (for service and support) with your immediate supply chain during this period? (number of responses)
Other aspects of the survey included that as a direct result of the decline in motor claims, 73% of businesses are operating on a reduced basis, with 94% of bodyshops placing staff on Furlough.
The loss of revenue is also taking its toll, and while the government has introduced measures for businesses to receive grants and business rates relief, access to financial assistance appears to be somewhat of a lottery.
The survey shows that 37.5% of the respondents believe they have lost 11%-20% of their annual turnover. 19.3% stated they had lost 21%-30% while 17.7% believe the impact to be far greater and only 1.1% believe that COVID-19 will have no impact on their annual turnover while 13.1% believe the impact will be below 10%.
When looking to the second half of 2020, there is cautious optimism from the majority of bodyshop businesses, some 58.9%, as they see the pandemic as an opportunity to engage with their insurance customers and reset business terms.
However, not all bodyshops take that view. Around 20% are less optimistic now compared to at the start of the pandemic or that they have no confidence in surviving at all.
About the survey
The survey was conducted between 28th April and 4th May 2020 by Auto Body Projects Limited.
The Report was published on 6th May 2020. It can be obtained FREE OF CHARGE via a download link at www.trendtracker.co.uk
The survey came about during the ARC360 webinar on 25th March 2020, where it became clear that many UK bodyshops were remaining open as an ‘essential service’. Still, many had also decided to close following the PM’s announcement. As the nation went into ‘partial lockdown’ it was clear that motor claims, and therefore notifications to bodyshops had instantly declined; many are suggesting by 75%-80%.
The collaboration of Trend Tracker, National Body Repair Association (NBRA) and ARC360 followed the webinar. They decided to form a survey to ascertain the current position of the body repair industry – Trend Tracker known for its independent research and analysis, NBRA as the repairers’ representative body and ARC360 as the communication and networking organisation for the motor insurance claims and body repair sectors.
As matters have evolved and peoples’ perceptions and behaviours have changed, the group felt it appropriate that six-weeks into ‘partial lockdown’ and one-month after their initial COVID-19 survey – to present the latest position and views of UK bodyshop owners/managers in a second survey.