German-British Chamber: Autumn Survey of German-British business on Coronavirus pandemic

27 October 2020


The German-British Chamber’s autumn survey shows that the German-British business community is still very much affected by the Coronavirus pandemic but, compared to earlier in the year, companies are slightly less pessimistic about the effects of the pandemic on their businesses.

Now just over 50% of the German-British business community is severely or more than severely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. 20% of companies have seen no effects or even an increase in activity levels. The corresponding figures before the summer break were 75% and 15%. Nevertheless, companies expect the overall recovery to take longer than originally anticipated.

Travel restrictions/cancellation of trade fairs/events, decline in demand/cancellation of orders, and cancelled investments continue to have the largest impact on business operations. However, the effects have become slightly less pronounced in comparison to earlier in the year.

Despite the appearance of some light at the end of the tunnel for a number of businesses, Brexit challenges loom large for the German-British business community. As a consequence, a significant number of companies expect geographical changes to their supply chains and the location of their business activities in future. Some will relocate activities to the UK but many more will shift some of their operations to Germany or other EU member states.

A small majority still expects a minimum Free Trade Agreement to be concluded by the end of the year, but in any case, a large and growing majority (75%) expect Brexit to have a negative impact of more than 2% on the growth of the UK economy in 2021.

Dr Ulrich Hoppe, Director General of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce, commented, "The survey results suggest that the German-British business community, despite being slightly less pessimistic about the shorter-term effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on their own businesses, continues to be worried about the longer-term effects. In addition, Brexit and the expected emergence of trade barriers will have a negative effect on its overall investment levels in the UK and economic growth will also be adversely affected to a significant extent.”

82 online interviews were conducted with members of the German-British business community with UK operations. The study was part of the World Business Outlook survey of the Association of German Chambers of Industry & Commerce. Fieldwork was conducted between 5 and 18 October 2020. The full results can be found here.


Kindly supplied by the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce.


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