Deloitte Private Global Survey / Strengthened from the crisis: Optimism among medium-sized and family businesses

The fact that the crisis can also be a productive state seems to apply in particular to medium-sized companies: While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down numerous branches of the economy, a large number of companies used this extraordinary situation to create new growth options. And so SMEs and family businesses around the world are almost consistently optimistic about the near future: 88 percent expect a moderate to strong increase in sales in the coming year. In addition, 68 percent are confident or very confident that their company will also develop successfully in terms of profitability and growth over the next twelve months - a mood that is quite comparable to that of German medium-sized companies (64 percent). These are the results of the study “Deloitte Private Global Survey”, for which more than 2021 executives of medium-sized companies as well as privately and family-owned companies were surveyed on behalf of Deloitte Private between January and March 2.700 - including 100 German companies. In addition to a growth initiative, the pandemic has caused a surge in digitization, especially in this country - a step that is long overdue, as the global comparison shows.

Companies expect positive business development

For the coming year, around half of German companies are planning to increase their productivity (56 percent), develop new products and services (52 percent) and expand their business in existing markets (47 percent). More than half (52 percent) expect to be able to increase their profits in the next twelve months. Good news for employees too: 34 percent of the German respondents want to keep their workforce stable. Almost as many (32 percent) want to hire specifically qualified specialists in a targeted manner - and thus significantly more than in the global comparison (18 percent). By contrast, only nine percent of the German respondents intend to cut jobs.

“Medium-sized and family businesses are not only the backbone of the German economy, they also prove to be extremely robust in economically troubled times. Almost half of all German companies surveyed even stated that the COVID-19 crisis opened up new business opportunities for them, ”reports Dr. Christine Wolter, partner and head of Deloitte Private. "Once again, it is their qualitative peculiarities that contribute to successful crisis management - namely their high degree of agility and their long-term strategy."

COVID-19 as a major driver of digitization

One answer to the constant volatility of the market is digitization. Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, around a quarter of the German medium-sized companies surveyed initiated the digital transformation of their company - a trend that was intensified by the crisis for 63 percent of companies. Almost two thirds of the respondents see IT security gaps and cyber attacks as at least a medium corporate risk - and therefore invest primarily in data security (38 percent). Further investments are being made in data analytics and business intelligence (36 percent) as well as in the automation of business processes (35 percent).

Nevertheless, the German survey participants still lag behind in a global comparison: While a good third of the respondents in Germany are in the middle of the transformation process, this applies to only 24 percent of companies globally. It is all the more surprising that the digital transformation in this country has a lower priority in a global comparison: In the next three years, digitization in Germany will be part of the growth strategy for at least 35 percent, but on a global level it will already be for 42 percent of companies.

Digitization increases resilience

When asked about the drivers for the digital transformation, the medium-sized companies rate numerous motives equally highly: The German companies surveyed see the most important motivation in reducing their costs (21 percent) - globally, the cost reduction aspect only ranks fourth among the digitization drivers. The improved customer loyalty is also of great relevance, which is a major reason for the transformation for 16 percent of all companies in Germany and worldwide.

"Whether it is about cost reduction, inventory management, the quantity of goods sold or customer loyalty: All company areas benefit from the digitization of their processes, because it increases their resilience considerably," summarizes Dr. Christine Wolter finally together. “It is precisely this resilience, which is rightly attributed to family businesses in particular, that ultimately results in faster adaptability to technological developments, to a volatile market with ever shorter innovation cycles and rapidly changing customer needs. And last but not least, it paves the way for flexible concepts of cooperation within the framework of New Work. "

You can find the central global study results here.. We would be happy to provide you with the detailed German results via the press contact listed here.

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