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CEP Covid-19 analysis

The business response to Covid-19: the CEP-CBI survey on technology adoption


We present new data from a survey of 375 UK businesses conducted in July 2020 in partnership with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which seeks to understand the way in which firms have innovated in response to the crisis. We find that the pandemic has caused enormous business disruption, which has prompted many firms to focus on innovation. Over 60% of firms report that they have adopted new technologies or management practices since the onset of the pandemic, while a third have invested in new digital capabilities. We find similar patterns in terms of the introduction of new products or services. We describe how these responses differ across types of businesses and find that previous technology adoption is a strong predictor of a rapid innovation response to the crisis, even after controlling for other factors. Nearly all firms report that they expect the adoption of new technologies or practices to be permanent and to have a positive impact on firm performance. We will test these predictions with a follow-up survey one year on.


Capucine Riom and Anna Valero

30 September 2020     Paper Number CEPCOVID-19-009

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