Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Supply chain constraints, inflation, and the cost of materials have all been on the minds of many firms and financial analysts lately. Calcbench is no exception, so during some spare time today we decided to map out the cost of revenue for large firms since the pandemic began at the start of last year.

We examined cost of revenue (also commonly known as cost of goods sold, or “COGS”) for more than 340 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported COGS for the last seven quarters — that is, from the start of 2020 through Q3 2021.

Figure 1, below, shows the change in COGS for all 341 firms as a group. The total jumped 17.2 percent in the last seven quarters, from $1.07 trillion at the start of 2020 to $1.25 trillion today. Second quarter 2020 does show a dip to $944.2 billion, which makes sense considering a large portion of the world was in lockdown at that time. (The second decline in Q1 2021 might also be due to a spike in covid cases in the United States that period, too.)

Of course, collective numbers can mask the effect of certain outliers, so we also calculated the median change in COGS over the same seven quarters. Median COGS rose even more: 20.2 percent, from $1.07 billion to $1.28 billion. That’s in Figure 2, below; and again we see the same dip during lockdown.

And since we’re always nosy here at Calcbench, we also calculated the change in COGS for each firm in our sample, and then ranked them from biggest increase to smallest. Table 1, below, shows the 10 firms with the largest increase in cost of revenue for the last seven quarters.

Some of the increases make sense. AbbVie ($ABBV), for example, manufactures rapid covid testing kits, so its increased costs presumably are driven by high demand for those kits. On the other hand, we also have the likes of toy manufacturer Hasbro ($HAS). As much as we’d like to speculate on that situation, first we have to run to the store and get our kids’ holiday presents before you all beat us to it.

You can conduct your own research on cost of goods sold using our Multi-Company page and entering “cost of revenue” or “cost of goods” in the standardized search metrics field on the left side of the screen. When you find something interesting, you can then bounce over to our Interactive Disclosure page to see what the company might be saying about the issue in its footnotes, Management Discussion & Analysis, or other disclosures.

And if you’d like to learn more about supply chain issues and how Calcbench can help you research them, join us at 4 PM ET on Tuesday, Nov. 16 for a free webinar exploring what firms are reporting about the issue and how to study the data.

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