United States / Coronavirus Insights
Industry Call and Do Not Call List

What information do you want to see from IBISWorld on COVID-19? We'd love to hear from you

by Nick Masters, Senior Analyst
Apr 27 2020

During this time, businesses must work together to mitigate the social and economic damage caused by the coronavirus. Whether it’s companies like 3M supplying PPE to hospitals or a local accountant helping a small business apply for SBA loans, economic synergy is what makes our economy resilient.

To this end, IBISWorld has compiled a list of industries where synergistic opportunities may be found. Industries to call are those that are seeing increased activity. From a business development perspective, industries with increased activity may be receptive to productivity-enhancing solutions. Sectors to not call are those hit hardest by social distancing measures and the economic contraction. Companies operating in these sectors may only be receptive to advisory services pertaining to business continuity. Industry revenue can be used as a proxy for a larger potential pool of prospects. It’s advised to look at the supply chains of these industries for additional prospecting opportunities. 

Call – Industries facilitating:

Remote work and learning

Work – Remote work has caused a surge in demand for software and systems that facilitate remote business continuity. Going forward, companies are expected to further develop and maintain remote work capabilities as a hedge against possible future disruptions. These capabilities include unified communications as a service (UCaaS; i.e. Microsoft Teams) platforms (OD4594), cloud computing capabilities (51121a, 51821), and the use of external B2B services (OD4590, OD4593, OD5044). To a lesser degree, employee Assistance Program (EAP) Services (OD5746) and Online Home Furnishing Sales (OD5072) may see increased activity. EAP services are likely to see increased demand as organizations seek to provide mental health assistance to employees. Additionally, prolonged work from home schedules have encouraged online furniture sales.

Learning – Educational institutions of all levels are continuing classes online. Many of the industries facilitating remote work will also serve the education sector. However, niche industries such as Online Tutoring Services (OD6038) and Education Consultants (OD5844) are likely to see heightened demand due to the shift to digital learning. Education Consultants are expected to be leveraged by public school systems to help teachers and administrators adapt to online teaching.

E-commerce and entertainment

E-commerce is expected to grow substantially due to widespread closures of nonessential businesses. Online sales of nondiscretionary goods are surging due to social distancing measures and panic shopping. Additionally, homebound individuals are consuming more media of various types. Social media (OD4574) and video streaming services (53223) largely characterize this consumption.

Virus mitigation

As social distancing measures ease, industries involved in the prevention of further infection are expected to be in high demand from both public and private organizations. Janitorial services (56172) will see an exceptional surge in demand as public buildings, offices, stores and restaurants seek to mitigate further infection.

Healthcare solutions

Productivity & capacity – Industries upstream in the supply chain of hospitals and other medical services will see an uptick in demand. Supplier categories expected to be most important are recruitment agencies (OD4956), medical software developers (OD4172, OD4171) and medical supplies and equipment manufacturers. Lastly, ancillary services such as medical case management services (OD5774) and medical waste disposal services (OD4182) will also be widely needed.

Small business relief

Advisory – Small- and medium-sized businesses are expected to seek external assistance to maintain operations. Advisory and accounting services (54121c, 54121b) will be useful to small businesses to prepare for further business discontinuity and how best to use available government assistance programs. Restructuring services offered under the Management Consulting industry (54161) are expected to see an increase in demand. To a lesser extent, the Donations, Grants & Endowment industry (81321) is expected to see increased activity amid growing private relief efforts.


Do Not Call

The majority of companies operating in these sectors are being adversely impacted by social distancing measures.

Accommodation and Food Services Sector (72)

This sector is primarily made up of small businesses dependent on consumer spending. As a result of the current circumstances, sector revenue is forecast to decline 11.2% in 2020. However, the sector is among the primary beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program facilitated by the SBA.

Manufacturing (31-33) and Construction (23)

The Manufacturing sector is also characterized by small-to-medium sized businesses. This sector is very diverse and sensitive to global commodity prices. Reduced industrial activity and consumer spending will result in a decline in manufacturing utilization rates. Sector revenue is forecast to decline 18.4% in 2020. However, certain corners of the industry related to medical supplies are expected to deviate significantly from the sector’s overall decline. Construction activity is declining due to a bleak macroeconomic outlook. Sector revenue is forecast to decline 6.8% in 2020.

Retail (44-45)

Sector revenue is forecast to decline 3.3% in 2020. The closure of nonessential businesses has caused a significant loss in sales. However, retailers of non-discretionary items (i.e. essential businesses) and e-commerce operators represent major outliers from the sector’s overall decline.



*IBISWorld estimates; please see related report for analysis.