In numbers: How has Covid-19 affected business?

E.ON logo

We've carried out research with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) which analyses the effects of the pandemic on UK business. This new research looks at 20 separate indicators capturing the impact of and responses to tougher trading conditions, and interviews with ten companies around the country to show  the deep effects of the crisis and what businesses have done to cope.


Covid-19 has brought about many difficulties for businesses in the UK. From a loss of customer demand to new policies for social distancing, most enterprises saw their resilience tested and had to adapt to new ways of working in 2020.

This report brings together analysis of trends in business activity and performance amid the pandemic, quantifying the experience of businesses throughout 2020 from the perspectives of cost, revenue & performance, as well as customer demand. 

The Covid Business Impact Tracker is made up of 20 indicators from across the country and covering different industry sectors which capture how businesses coped with and are adjusting to tougher trading conditions as the economy wrestles with the fallout from the pandemic. This is analysed from three perspectives:

  1. The extent to which businesses are using government support schemes and business cost reduction measures to manage the impacts of the downturn.

  2. A series of indicators are used to analyse business performance, including enterprises’ perception of trading conditions and how much turnover has been impacted by the crisis.

  3. Indicators which measure consumer activity, including restaurant bookings and footfall at retail centres.


This report also highlights the struggles of individual businesses during these turbulent times, while also considering how the difficulties of 2020 have impacted energy efficiency plans. Ten businesses tell their stories on how they have needed to adapt and their views on how the UK economy can look to bounce back and use the pandemic recovery to kick-start our journey to net zero and tackling the climate emergency.

“The first step is being clear the UK’s trajectory to net-zero is not going to be abandoned or ignored and will provide a competitive edge for those who change and adapt soonest. Companies that already had a robust plan to improve their sustainability may now be in a position to accelerate it. Those yet to consider a sustainability programme might find their focus sharpened by recovery efforts.”

- Michael Lewis, E.ON UK CEO


“We went down to a core team because our customers only needed us to deliver the various essential services. All of the capital projects for improvements were pretty much stopped.” 

- Blackburn Starling


“Our five-year plan hasn't changed. We're sticking to that. The goals haven't changed, but some of the routes to how we get to the goals have evolved and adapted. [Amid the pandemic] we needed to change and adapt and be quite agile.”

- Carrs Pasties