Coronavirus: even buying men’s designer underwear online is curfewed
Everyone needs underwear. Men increasingly like to look good. And once men have found what they like they stick to it. So for UK online retailer UnderU.com selling men’s designer underwear online, the past few years have been good business. More sales, more customers, more underwear brands. A self-enforcing circle of business growth.
That was until the full scale of the epidemic outbreak of the coronavirus seeped into the minds of the UK consumer.
Sales had been gradually falling since the end of February. When public awareness of the coronavirus and its imminent and growing threat to life in the UK started to grow. The number of new cases reported in the UK was accelerating. The airwaves were beginning to fill with the now dreaded lexicon of corona, virus, epidemic, pandemic, self-isolation, and Covid-19.
But since Monday 16th March, when Boris Johnson held the first of his daily, full-scale press conferences. UnderU’s sales are down 60% year on year. Which is absolutely unprecedented for the business.
The nation, and indeed most of Europe and the world, is operating in a dense fog of both medical and economic uncertainty. Not knowing how bad it will get, how long it will last. Indeed what the ‘new normal’ will be like once the outbreak has been conquered.
For the first time in more than a generation, the political landscape in the UK seems genuinely non-partisan. Indeed, today’s PM Questions in Parliament was the most non-combative 30 minutes that I have ever heard on Radio 5 Live!! It feels like the whole country is coming together to fight, and defeat, this horrible virus and its related disease.
The draconian measures being put in place, and the virtual shutdown of UK life as we once knew it…
Unfortunately seems an appropriate and necessary response on the way to winning this war. However, the dramatically reduced medical impact on the nation that the Government is aiming for is effectively being replaced by an equally dramatic increase in damage being done to the UK economy a. A truly terrifying balancing act that the Government has to address. Companies are being stretched to breaking point. Which in turn inevitably leads to mass job losses and loss of income for individuals. And small businesses, like UnderU, across the UK, with their smaller balance sheet reserves, will be feeling the dramatic effects of this play out first.
The Government’s announced package of economic measures, and in particular the “whatever it takes…” message, is much welcome. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s firing of his Downing Street bazookas last night seems entirely appropriate. I am hopeful that this is the start of at least the heaviest of the dark economic clouds being lifted from the UK. If companies can be saved. Then people’s income will be protected, and the UK’s economy might just avoid complete wreckage.
Men’s designer underwear Consumer confidence…
It is still less than 24 hours since, and Rishi’s weapons are still smoking. UnderU’s sales today of men’s designer underwear are already ahead of yesterday’s total. I am confident that consumer confidence is increasing. 2020 may yet turn out to be one of further growth for my business.
It is still early days, and no doubt there is still an incredibly long way for this whole, horrible episode in our human history to run, but I am feeling confident that if we all pull together we can, just about, make it through to a more sunlit chapter. Whatever it takes…