Continuing its effort to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the run specialty channel, the Running Industry Association (RIA) this week released a survey of running brands. The results show an extremely challenging situation for most brands, with a ray of hope down the road a bit — as long as it isn’t too far down the road.

According to the executive summary of the RIA report, despite 81 percent of brands actively shipping, only 20 percent maintained their March shipping forecast.

“With that said, 75 percent don’t expect shipping normalcy until sometime in Q3. Over half of brands are delaying product launches (for Q3/4) and/or slowing supply chains to prevent inventory surpluses in anticipation of 20-60 percent reduction in 2020 sales,” according to RIA.

The good news is only 15 percent expect Spring 21 product delays, although over 40 percent said it is too early to tell. 

Brands are doing everything they can to support retailers with 80 percent using or partnering with e-commerce platforms. 90 percent expect their sell-in rates for 2021 to be negatively impacted by COVID-19.

As expected, RIA reported, “the crisis is hitting smaller brands harder,” although about half of both large and small brand reported layoffs or furloughs with smaller brands letting go of more employees than large brands.

The most disturbing finding: “If the crisis continues into Q3 2020 and beyond into Q3 2021, 40 percent of brands don’t think they will survive.”

 Among the other findings:

  • 75 percent reported they don’t expect normalcy until at least Q3
  • 48 percent expect supply chain disruptions in the coming months
  • 80 percent are using or partnering with ecommerce platforms to support retailers
  • 40 percent of the brands don’t think they will survive if crisis continues into Q3 and beyond

To see the entire survey report: