Despite having confidence in their companies’ ability to grow, the number of CEOs who believe 2015 will witness strong economic growth decreased compared to the previous year, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) said in an official report.
In a survey that included some 1300 CEOs, 37% of respondents believed that the economy will improve in 2015, compared to 44% the preceding year. Around 17% of the respondents predicted that the economy will drop, which is double the percentage recorded a year earlier.
Around 45% of company executives from the Asia-Pacific region expected growth to occur, followed by 44% of the executives in the Middle East and 37% from North America.
The report indicated that CEOs of companies in emerging economies such as India, China and Mexico were more optimistic than CEOs in the United States and Germany.
“The world is facing enormous challenges economically, politically and socially,” chairman of PWC international Dennis Nally said, commenting on the survey’s results. “In general, CEOs remain wary about the short-term outlook of the global economy, as well as the growth prospects in their businesses.”
CEOs stated that the United States is the “most important market for growth” during the next year, as its growth has advanced compared to that of China for the first time in five years.
Global increases in regulatory restrictions during the next three years have topped the list of CEOs’ concerns. Other fears included the availability of key skilled workers, national deficits and debt burdens, geopolitical unrest and tax increases.
“Business leaders see regulatory change as the number one disruptor within their industries over the next five years,” the report read. “Government policies – both national and international – are recurrent themes on the list of CEO concerns.”
“Increased competition and changes in customer behaviours are also seen as top-three disruptive forces,” it added.
On the use of technology, 81% of the CEOs highlighted that the use of mobile technologies to engage their customers is strategically important.
The report mentioned, however, that “companies that want to exploit the power of mobile technologies to engage customers face tough choices about how, and how fast, to move to mobile channels and how to integrate those with more traditional channels”.