Published: March 31, 2020

After a mostly business-as-usual start to the new decade, the world got increasingly bleak as Q1 went along: More infections and more deaths from coronavirus, along with more restrictions and more disruptions from the efforts to combat it. Hope dwindled rapidly as the plague spread rampantly.

To underscore the historic deterioration of business in Q1, consider the findings from a special survey of more than 800 IT buyers and users done by 451 Research's Voice of the Enterprise (VotE) earlier this month.

At the start of the VotE survey period (March 10-11), roughly four of 10 respondents thought their businesses could run 'indefinitely' without experiencing a major disruption, such as not being able to pay bills or deliver service. A week later, just half the number (21%) thought their businesses would get through the coronavirus pandemic unscathed. (For context, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide tracked by Johns Hopkins University doubled during that mid-March survey period. Ominously, the number of cases more than tripled in the final half of the month.)

When businesses are worried about surviving, they aren't going to be shopping. That sentiment shows up clearly in the flow of monthly spending on tech M&A in Q1. As tallied in 451 Research's M&A KnowledgeBase, during both the two opening months of 2020, when concerns about the virus weren't anywhere as acute as they were in March, tech acquirers doled out dollars pretty much at the same pace as they had in 2019.

However, that ended abruptly as the pandemic took hold. By March, most travel had been grounded and businesses had been shuttered, many wondering if they would ever open again. As the world went into lockdown, the M&A market followed suit. The M&A KnowledgeBase shows spending on tech acquisitions this month plummeted two-thirds compared with the first two months of the year, slumping to the lowest monthly total since 2013.

For an in-depth look at the tech M&A market in this unprecedented time of a global threat to both the public health and the health of the economy, 451 Research subscribers can look for our full report on Q1 activity – along with the early outlook for Q2 – on our website tomorrow.

Brenon Daly
Research Vice President

Brenon Daly oversees the financial analysis of 451 Research's Market Insight and KnowledgeBase products, having covered more than a quarter-trillion dollars' worth of deal flow for both national publications and research firms.

Sheryl Kingstone
Research Director

Sheryl Kingstone leads 451 Research’s coverage for Customer Experience & Commerce, which covers the many aspects of how customer experience is a catalyst for digital transformation. She oversees the company’s coverage of a variety of customer experience software markets spanning ad tech, marketing, sales, commerce and service.

Keith Dawson
Principal Analyst

Keith Dawson is a principal analyst in 451 Research's Customer Experience & Commerce practice, primarily covering marketing technology. Keith has been covering the intersection of communications and enterprise software for 25 years, mainly looking at how to influence and optimize the customer experience.

Want to read more? Request a trial now.