With 38% of invoices at least ten days overdue, the UK is beginning to feel the effects of lockdown exit.
Since 22 April, Sidetrade, the AI specialist, has been publishing a B2B unpaid invoice tracker. Freely accessible to all private sector decision-makers and public authorities, it shows the payment behaviour, week by week, of over 3.7 million businesses in six European countries: France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
A clear picture of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis per business sector
A first of its kind, the Sidetrade tracker analyses the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on twelve business sectors. As of 25 May, the UK sectors hardest hit by payment delays tied to the crisis are:
- Finance, Insurance, Real Estate: 76% of invoices over 10 days overdue
- ICT (Information, Communication, Technology): 60% of invoices over 10 days overdue
- Leisure, Hospitality: 55% of invoices over 10 days overdue
Note that Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, as well as ICT are areas where late payment rate was already high prior to the pandemic: 56% and 53% respectively.
Sectors least impacted by the crisis include Food industry (19% invoices over 10 days overdue), retail (22%) and manufacturing (23%).
Hard hit by the crisis, the UK seems to be seeing the first effects of lockdown exit
Evidence from the Sidetrade tracker shows a strong correlation between payment behaviour and economic activity. The latest tracker release was highly awaited this week to see the effect of exit from lockdown. With 38% unpaid invoices as of 25 May 2020, the UK has seen a slight improvement in customer-supplier relations. This is the first positive effect of lockdown exit.
Nonetheless, the unpaid rate remains extremely high, representing a threat for many businesses. Late payment deterioration in the UK rose +26%.
For the first time, all six countries tracked showed a significant improvement, even though the unpaid rate is still high. The UK has the highest rate (39% unpaid), whereas the Netherlands can boast the lowest figure: 18% unpaid, not far from their pre-pandemic rate of 15%.
The Sidetrade tracker is a trusted reference for payment behaviour trends. In the coming weeks, it will be a crucial to analyze the reality of the economic upturn in Europe.