A great many of the goods we use every day are manufactured in China. Given this, a significant proportion of our consumer-facing industries are extremely dependent on the country, and are likely to suffer greatly if a solution to the Coronavirus epidemic is not identified and implemented over the next few days.
For example, the majority of kitchen appliances, personal care products and floorcare products, such as kettles, hairdryers and vacuum cleaners, are either manufactured in, or require component supply from, China. Indeed, delays to just one specialist small component sourced from China could potentially delay production of goods by several months if the country remains unable to go back to work.
The implications will stretch from potential price increases because of stock shortages, through to a complete lack of product availability. Even more concerningly, there is a real possibility that staff may be laid off because the UK importers that rely heavily on China essentially have nothing left to check, stock and sell, significantly damaging their bottom line.
That said, it’s not all bad news for the consumer - with the massive reduction of transportation to and from China, plus huge reductions in manufacturing, global fuel usage will fall, meaning that prices may actually drop for some.