Services sector hits record decline: 11.7% in April

June 17, 2020 09h00 AM | Last Updated: June 19, 2020 01h30 AM

In April 2020, the volume of services in Brazil fell 11.7% against the March figure, in the seasonally-adjusted series. That is the worst negative result ever in this time series (January 2011) and the third negative rate in a row, with a cumulative decrease of 18.7%. Decline in April was mostly a consequence of the social isolation measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the series without seasonal adjustment, against April 2019, services volume fell 17.2% in April 2020, the second negative rate in a row. The cumulative services volume dropped 4.5% versus the same period a year ago. Cumulative results for the last 12 months, with a 0.6 decrease in April 2020,  those in January (1.0%), February  (0.7%) and March (0.7%).

Indicators of the Monthly Survey of Industry - April 2020
Period Change (%)
Volume Nominal Revenue
April 20 / March 20* -11.7 -12.9
April 20 / April 19 -17.2 -16.9
Cumulative in January-April -4.5 -2.7
Cumulative in the last 12 Months -0.6 2.3
Source: IBGE, Diretoria de Pesquisas, Coordenação de Indústria     *seasonally-adjusted series

The decrease of 11.7% in volume of services from March to April 2020 was observed in all the five activities investigated. The highlights were the decreases in transportation, support services for transportation and mailing (-17.8%) and in services rendered to families (-44.1%), both with the main decreases in the series that started in January 2011. The former activity had significant negative contributions from air transportation (-73.8%) and road transportation (-20.6%). The latter was strongly affected by lodging and feeding services (-46.5%) and other services rendered to families (-33.3%).  

The other negative results among the activities came from professional, administrative and complementary services (-8.6%), information and communication (-3.6%) and other services (-7.4%), with a cumulative decrease of 15.6% in the last three months; the second one fell 7.1% between January and April; and the last one had a cumulative decrease of 8.8% in the March-April period.   

The quarterly moving average index for the total volume of services recorded a decrease of 6.4% in the quarter ended April 2020 against the level in the previous year, making even more significant the pace of decrease against January (-0.1%), February (-0.4%) and March (-2.5%). Among the sectors, also versus the marginal movement of the index, all the five activities recorded negative results in the month, the highlights being services rendered to families (-23.0%), followed by transportation, support services for transportation and mailing (-8.4%), professional, administrative and complementary services (-5.3%), other services (-2.8%) and information and communication (-2.1%). 

Versus April 2019, the volume of the services sector, having fallen by 17.2% in April 2020, recorded the most significant negative rate since the start of the time series for this type of indicator. The result showed retraction in four of the five activities and also in less than one fourth  (24.1%) of the 166 types of services surveyed. 

Among the activities, transportation, support services for transportation and mailing (-21.2%) and services rendered to families (-65.2%) accounted for the main negative contributions to the overall services volume, once they were severely affected by the social isolation measures implemented all over Brazil. In the former, the main negative contributions were those of: road cargo transportation, national mailing; railway and subway transportation;  road concessionaires; and airport operation. Among services rendered to families, losses were observed in the following subsectors: restaurants; hotels; catering services; physical conditioning activities; miscellaneous courses; production and promotion of sports events; and management of facilities for theater and other artistic events.

The other decreases were registered by professional, administrative and complementary services (-17.3%) and information and communication services (-4.8%), mainly due to the reduced revenue of loyalty programs; solutions in electronic payment; management of intangible assets; technical activities related to architecture and engineering; organization, promotion and management of fairs, congresses and conventions; travel agencies; general cleaning activities; charge and register information activities; car rental, in the former sector; and telecommunications; programmers and activities related to subscription TV; broadcast TV; activities for cinema exhibition; and subscription satellite TV operators, in information and communication services.

Other services (1.0%) accounted for the only positive contribution in the month, being mainly influenced  by the increased revenue of security brokers and dealers; stock market administration and over-the-counter markets; and collection of non-dangerous residue of domestic, urban or industrial origin.

Monthly Survey of Services
Indicadotors of Volume of Services, by dissemination activities
April 2020 - Change (%)
Dissemination Activities Month/Previous month (1) Monthly (2) Cumulative in the year (3) Last 12 months (4)
FEB MAR APR FEB MAR APR JAN-FEB JAN-MAR JAN-APR Up to FEB Up to MAR Up to APR
Volume of Services - Brazil -1.0 -7.0 -11.7 0.6 -2.8 -17.2 1.1 -0.2 -4.5 0.7 0.7 -0.6
1. Services rendered to families  -0.4 -31.2 -44.1 3.4 -33.5 65.2 1.7 -10.2 -23.6 2.3 -1.0 -6.6
1.1 Lodging and feeding services  -0.1 -33.7 -46.5 4.2 -35.9 -68.0 2.2 -10.7 -24.5 2.5 -1.1 -6.7
1.2 Other services rendered to families  -0.1 -20.0 -33.3 -0.7 -19.9 -50.5 -1.0 -7.5 -18.6 1.1 -0.4 -5.7
2. Information and communication services  -1.3 -1.3 -3.6 -0.4 -0.2 -4.8 0.8 0.5 -0.9 2.6 2.5 2.0
2.1 Information and communication technology services (TIC) -0.4 -0.1 -1.1 0.3 0.8 -0.8 0.9 0.9 0.5 2.9 2.8 2.5
2.1.1 Telecommunications  0.2 -2.1 0.1 -2.3 -4.0 -3.8 -3.2 -3.4 -3.5 -1.6 -1.8 -2.0
2.1.2 Information technology services  -1.3 1.9 -2.4 5.6 9.8 5.3 9.2 9.4 8.4 11.8 11.9 11.3
2.2 Audiovisual services  -4.6 -9.2 -22.7 -5.5 -7.9 -33.0 -0.1 -2.6 -10.5 1.0 1.0 -1.4
3. Professional, administrative and complementary services  -0.5 -7.2 -8.6 -3.4 -3.7 -17.3 -1.7 -2.4 -6.3 0.3 0.2 -1.1
3.1 Technical and professional services  -3.2 1.3 -3.5 -6.2 3.2 -11.4 -3.0 -0.9 -3.7 2.3 2.9 1.6
3.2 Administrative and complementary  -1.6 -7.7 -9.9 -2.4 -6.0 -19.5 -1.2 -2.9 -7.2 -0.4 -0.7 -2.1
4. Transportation, support services for transportation and mailing 0.3 -8.7 -17.8 1.6 0.4 -21.2 1.3 1.0 -4.6 -2.5 -1.9 -3.2
4.1 Road transportation 0.9 -10.5 -20.6 -1.0 -5.7 -28.5 -2.1 -3.3 -9.7 -3.5 -3.4 -5.4
4.2 Waterway transportation 5.1 0.1 -0.1 12.4 24.1 16.3 11.2 15.6 15.8 3.8 5.7 7.2
4.3 Air transportation 0.4 -27.2 -73.8 6.8 -11.6 -77.2 7.8 1.6 -16.6 -5.2 -5,4 -9.1
4.4 Storage, support services for  transportation and mailing  -1.3 -1.0 -5.8 2.1 8.3 -4.0 2.8 4.6 2.4 -1.7 -0.2 -0.1
5. Other services  0.5 -1.5 -7.4 9.3 14.0 1.0 9.5 11.0 8.5 6.5 7.8 7.8
Source: IBGE, Diretoria de Pesquisas, Coordenação de Indústria            
(1) Base: previous month - seasonally adjusted (3) Base: same period a year ago         
(2) Base: same month as in the previous year (4) Base: 12 previous months    

In the cumulative index in the first four months of 2020, against the same period in 2019, the sector of services fell 4.5%, with a decrease in four of the five dissemination activities and expansion in only 32.5% of the 166 types of services surveyed. Among the sectors, services rendered to families (-23.6%) accounted for the main negative contribution, mainly due to the reduced revenue of restaurants; hotels; and catering and other related food services. It is worth mentinoning that the steeper decrease in this sector, from a drop of 10.2% in the first three months of the year to a decrease of 23.6%  in the first four months of 2020, was caused by the partial or complete closing of establishments due to social isolation measures adopted to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

It is also worth pointing out that, once the month o March brought the effects of the stop of economic activities only in the final one third of the month, in April there was an impact on the entire month, which resulted in bigger losses of revenue among service rendering companies. Decrease was also registered in transportation, support activities for transportation and mailing (-4.6%), professional, administrative and complementary services (-6.3%) and information and communication (-0.9%). On the other hand, the only positive contribution in this comparison came from the sector of other services (8.5%).

Services fell in 26 of the 27 Federation Units 

In regional terms, 26 of the 27 Federation Units recorded a decrease in the volume of services in April 2020, in comparison with March 2020. Among the places with negative results in the month, São Paulo (-11.6%) and Rio de Janeiro (-12.7%) had the main losses, mainly due to the segments of lodging and feeding. Other relevant losses took place in Minas Gerais (-11.0%), Rio Grande do Sul (-15.2%), Bahia (-21.0%) and Paraná (-11.1%). On the other hand, the only positive impact in regional terms came from Mato Grosso (9.0%), whose increase resulted not only from the low basis for comparison, once in March services had falled by 12.6%, but also from the performance of railway cargo transportation.

Against April 2019, as in Brazil  (-17.2%), volume of services decreased in 26 of the 27 Federation Units. The main negative result was that of  São Paulo (-16.2%), followed by Rio de Janeiro (-15.5%), Rio Grande do Sul (-27.5%) and Minas Gerais (-15.7%). The only positive contribution in this comparison came from Rondônia (3.1%).  

In terms of cumulative index of the period January-April 2020, versus the same period a year ago, the decrease of volume of services in Brazil (-4.5%) was widespread among the areas surveyed, once 25 of the 27 Federation Units also fell in terms of real revenue of services. The main negative impact, in regional terms, came from São Paulo (-3.5%), followed by Rio Grande do Sul (-10.9%), Bahia (-12.3%), Minas Gerais (-5.2%) and Rio de Janeiro (-2.4%). On the other hand, the only positive contributions to the national index were those of Amazonas (0.8%) and Rondônia (2.7%).

Tourism activity index records a decrease of 54.5%, the biggest in the series

In April 2020, the tourism activity index fell by 54.5% against March 2020, the main decrease in the time series (initiated in January 2011). The measures against COVID-19, such as the incentive to social isolation, affected most strongly and immediately a number of companies engaged in tourism-related activities, mainly air transportation of passengers, restaurants and hotels. There was a significant difference between the period of interruption in March (10 days) and in April (30 days), so decrease was steeper in the latter. All the Federation Units in the country recorded a decrease, the main highlights being São Paulo (-52.0%), Rio de Janeiro (-52.7%), Minas Gerais (-49.4%) and Bahia (-63.1%).

Versus April 2019, there was a drop by 67.3%, the reduced revenue of restaurants, hotels, collective air and road transportation of passengers. Decrease was observed in all the 12 Federation Units that followed this same trend, mainly in São Paulo (-65.9%), followed by Rio de Janeiro (-65.8%), Minas Gerais (-64.5%), Paraná (-69.1%), Bahia (-72.6%) and Rio Grande do Sul (-76.0%). 

Regarding the cumulative figure in January-April 2020, the special aggregate of tourism activities fell 20.9% against the same period in 2019, especially due to the performance of restaurants; hotels; collective air and road passenger transportation; and catering and other related food services. The main positive impact came from car rental. All the 12 investigated locations also recorded negative rates, especially São Paulo (-22.3%), (-16.7%), Minas Gerais (-22.3%), Rio Grande do Sul (-26.3%) and Bahia (-19.1%).