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COVID-19 pandemic has not had a dramatic effect on fixed broadband operators in developed markets

COVID-19 pandemic has not had a dramatic effect on fixed broadband operators in developed markets

  • September 2020
  • 3 pages
  • ID: 5976079
  • Format: PDF
  • Analysys Mason


"The SMB market has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic; this is likely to drive digitalisation and the adoption of cloud-based HR software."

The 2Q 2020 results from human resource (HR) management solution providers were mixed. Workday’s revenue grew strongly year-on-year (+19.6%), despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as did Paycom’s (+7%), Ceridian’s (+12.6%), Paylocity’s (+8%) and Paycor’s (+12%). The other major players in the market, ADP and Paychex, reported revenue declines of 3% and 7%, respectively.

We remain positive about the long-term prospects for the HR solutions market. The changing working environment means that flexible, cloud-based HR solutions are more useful than ever before. The take-up of such solutions in the smallest companies (those with fewer than 50 employees) is still low, and this is expected to be both a driver of revenue growth and an opportunity for HR vendors.

The reduction in employment among SMBs is the main cause of the difference in HR players’ results

The major factors causing the difference in revenue growth figures for the major HR vendors are as follows.

  • The product mix. Workday’s and Ceridian’s core businesses are based on HR and payroll software. The demand for cloud-based versions of such solutions has increased dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many enterprises have had to adapt to the changes in working environments. ADP and Paychex have a greater reliance on payroll processing services, and these have been directly affected by the reduction in employee numbers caused by the pandemic.
  • The customer mix. Workday and Ceridian primarily serve the large enterprise segment, while ADP and Paychex work more with the small and medium-sized business (SMB) segment. Paychex, in particular, works a lot with the smallest companies in the market. Its customers have an average of 17 employees, and as a result, Paychex’s revenue fell more than that of its main competitor ADP, which is less exposed to the smallest firms. Martin Mucci, Paychex’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated that, “COVID-19 caused worldwide business shutdowns directly affecting small and medium-sized businesses, which impacted our business sales and financial performance.” Kathleen Winters, ADP’s Chief Financial Officer, said, “…we felt the full force of a double-digit decline in employment among our clients.”
Employment levels are gradually recovering, albeit at a slower pace than expected. Only half of the 20 million jobs that had been lost due to the pandemic in the USA were recovered by August 2020.1 Slow organic recovery for vendors such as ADP and Paychex will be unavoidable in the short term, but long-term revenue growth remains promising, especially for vendors that are focused on HR software for SMBs.

SMBs are the key drivers of future revenue growth for cloud-based HR software providers

SMB spending on HR and payroll software is forecast to reach USD7.3 billion by 2025; this is a 69% increase from today’s figure (Figure 1). Spending on cloud HR solutions will increase at a CAGR of 9.2%, but spending on on-premises solutions will decline. The migration to the cloud will be driven by companies wanting to have a more flexible solution; this is especially important in uncertain economic conditions. Such companies will add over USD2 billion to the SMB HR software market worldwide in the next 5 years.

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