May Data Review:
A Return to ‘Regular’ Data
May’s story is about a hint of a return to ‘normal,’ at least in terms of data. Many states began lifting stay-at-home orders, allowing for more activity in veterinary clinics. May experienced a couple of days where we saw growth in all major KPIs (Revenue, Transactions, ATC, and New Clients), reminiscent of pre-COVID days.
Life in veterinary clinics is far from normal, however. Curbside care is still in full force, with no strong indicators of slowing. The prospect of a COVID outbreak at the clinic level, which could debilitate business, is still a viable concern. Many clinics are managing, through the use of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) monies, but many questions still exist around the details of loan forgiveness. Veterinary hospital life is far from normal…
Revenue is the product of Transactions and Average Transaction Charge (ATC).
Overall, May was up in revenue by 1.7%, the first time we’ve seen this since the start of the downturn in March. The month of May continued to see struggling transaction growth, but not as dramatic as March and April. With transactions being less off than seen in previous months, continued ATC growth helps create the positive revenue we saw in May.
Below is a breakdown of revenue category performance for May 2020 compared to May 2019. Boarding and grooming continue to struggle, along with dentistry and dietary food sales. Areas of revenue affected by mandates to push off essential procedures – such as anesthesia and surgery – look to be rebounding.
Transactions can be thought of as volume of visits into the hospital, and that’s obviously where we’ve seen some major negative impacts.
Volume has been the area hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak. Overall transactional growth for May was -10.5%, but there were promising flashes of transactions returning to normal when May saw a few days of growth. One of the inherent challenges that practices are facing right now regarding transactional growth is curbside care. Curbside care is generally a slower process than the finely honed client processing through the hospital experienced in pre-COVID days. This can lead to hospital teams feeling plenty busy while not running as efficiently as they once did, ultimately capping transitional growth if efficiencies are not implemented.
May continued to see trends of what we saw in March and April with low Transactions and high ATC on weekends. This phenomenon seemed to lessen as the month progressed, potentially hinting at clinics reopening on days they were once open due to greater volume and/or bringing staff back in-clinic to maximize PPP forgiveness.
Average Transaction Charge is the average amount spent during a visit.
ATC continued to see consistent growth over prior periods seen in March and April, up 13.8% in May. Part of this may be attributed to curbside care and clients who are more compliant when it comes to recommendations communicated over the phone because they want to get everything done in one visit instead of potentially returning at a later date. There may also be a hoarding mentality still going on in which clients purchase 12 doses of preventative whenthey might have only purchased 6 previously, for example, thereby supporting the higher ATC we are seeing.
New Client Growth took a strong turn to positive in May. In March and April, we saw overall negative growth in new clients. In May, this turned positive, at 5.3% growth. The majority of May days saw growth in new clients, whereas April only saw a handful. This likely can be attributed to increased pet ownership during the crisis.
Be sure to keep up with our daily stats on iVET360’s dedicated COVID-19 site to see how you are faring when compared to the rest of the industry. We also invite you to take advantage of three complimentary months of our Pulse reporting platform so you can more easily and accurately monitor your business and navigate this difficult time.