LONDON, U.K. – The Economist Intelligence Unit published a special report predicting industry performance in 2014; the report was based on a survey of over 600 business leaders and executives across several global regions and industries. The industries covered include telecoms, financial services, consumer goods, automotive, energy and healthcare. The overall predictions made by business leaders bet that emerging markets offer stronger growth prospects than developed ones.
Beyond the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa were identified as the most promising developing markets.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) surveyed 647 business executives in November 2013 on their expectations and predictions about business conditions in 2014.
The survey sample was global, with 29% of respondents based in Europe, 24% in Asia, 22% in North America, 13% from both the Middle East and Africa and 12% from Latin America. The respondents were top-tiered businesspersons who work in organizations of varying sizes, with 43% earning annual revenues equivalent to U.S. $500 million or more.
When asked the question about which countries they saw had the greatest growth opportunities in 2014, a majority placed Indonesia on top, followed by Mexico and South Africa. The United States and Australia came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Vietnam and Turkey placed next, before Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Nigeria and Colombia followed afterwards while Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and Argentina ended the list of favorites.
Business leaders in the Middle East were the most optimistic about their business prospects in 2014, believing their business would fare better than last year. European and Latin American business leaders were not as confident. Although many felt their regional economies would improve and stabilize in 2014, they did not believe it would translate to immediate trickle-down benefits for their own businesses.
Looking at the perspectives of business leaders by industries, those in telecom, followed by financial services, anticipate a booming year in 2014. The developing economies have unmet needs in financial services such as banking, insurance and the handling and trading of securities. For instance, in the developing world, banking transactions through mobile technology is becoming more popular than going to a bank’s branch.
For telecoms in general, 78% of the survey respondents believed developing markets would provide better opportunities for growth than developed markets.
In the energy sector, oil production is expected to rise to meet growing demand, especially from the developing economies. The use of liquefied natural gas as well as solar and wind power is likewise increasing as infrastructure to support these energy sources are being developed. There is, moreover, pressure to lessen the burning of coal for power given the health concerns from the pollution it causes.
Those involved in retail saw opportunities in a mixture of developing markets and developed ones for 2014. Africa is still seen as the “final frontier” in many long-term retail investment strategies.
The report found Algeria topping the list as the top five fastest growing retail markets in 2014, closely followed by Azerbaijan, China, Vietnam and Thailand. Globally, the U.S. and Mexico place in the top two as the preferred markets with which to do retail. The report identified that social branding will continue to play an important role for consumers since the tragedy involving the collapse of the garment factories in Bangladesh last year is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Moreover, the EIU is a member of the Economist Group and specializes as a source of information on business developments, economic and political trends, government regulations and corporate practice worldwide.
– Maria Caluag
Sources: The Economist, Kiplinger
Photo: Consumer Goods Forum