Creative Industries Federation COVID-19 Impact Survey Results

Feb 23, 2021

The Creative Industries Federation have released the COVID-19 Impact Survey results.

The survey, from the Creative Industries Federation, garnered over 800 responses, with results being used to substantiate research and advocacy over the coming months.


Overview of Results


Impact of the Pandemic: 

  • The first three months of the pandemic saw the greatest impact on turnover with two thirds of respondents reporting income decreases of more than 50% during that period
  • Impact on turnover marginally improved in the last three months of 2020 despite local and national lockdowns with almost half reporting income decreases of more than 50%
  • Sectors dependent on live audiences have been particularly impacted with 75% facing a drop of income of 50% or more since the pandemic began
  • Freelancers and those based outside of London have been among the hardest hit:
    • Freelancers were 20% more likely than organisations to see a drop of income of 75% or more since the pandemic began
    • Respondents outside of London were 8% more likely to see decreases in turnover of more than 75%




  • Freelancers were 27% less likely than organisations to successfully access Covid-19 support schemes
  • More than half of creative freelancers were unable to access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • 81% of organisations accessed some form of Covid-19 support scheme with 59% accessing the Job Retention Scheme (JRS)
  • Creative organisations that employ 50+ people made greater use (75%) of the JRS, compared to 51% of microbusinesses (1-10 people)
  • Over half of respondents reported that access to non-repayable finance was still needed




  • Organisations with 50+ employees were three times more likely to say that it would take over 12 months to get back to normal levels of business if the pandemic were to end tomorrow
  • 43% of freelancers reported that new digital activity had not delivered any income, compared to 17% of organisations with 50+ employees
  • 1 in 4 creative organisations have plans for new hires in the next 6 months


BREXIT and Trade: 


  • Over a third reported that regulatory/policy barriers prevent them from exporting and almost a third indicated that the cost of exporting goods or services was a major barrier
  • Just under a third of all organisations have benefitted from European funding (such as Creative Europe)
  • Two thirds of respondents indicated that they were “Not at all prepared” or “Slightly unprepared” for Brexit, citing that more guidance and clarity was needed



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