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Business leaders expect rapid European recovery, says Accenture

Jul 14
Tags: Accenture
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Business leaders expect rapid European recovery...

Business leaders across the world are optimistic that the European market will be able to make a swift recovery from the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19. That is according to Accenture, which found 66 per cent of global business leaders think things will improve relatively rapidly.

For the Bold Moves in Tough Times report, Accenture surveyed nearly 500 C-level executives in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific representing 15 industries. It found that 29 per cent of respondents think a fairly rapid V-shaped recovery will occur, while 37 per cent believe it will be a more U-shaped recovery, meaning it would be slow and steady over the next 12 months.

The sector with the most optimistic outlook is pharmaceuticals, biotech and life sciences, which saw 34 per cent of business leaders anticipating an uptick in demand in Europe as a result of the pandemic. This was followed by communications, media & entertainment, which 52 per cent of respondents thought would see a V-shaped recovery.

While 47 per cent of those surveyed thought insurance would also bounce back in a similar fashion in Europe, only seven per cent thought the situation would be similar for the automotive industry. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of business leaders expected a rapid recovery for the airlines, travel and transportation sector.

When it comes to individual countries, executives put Germany, Nordic nations and the UK at the top of the list for most likely to rebound quickly, followed by France, Spain and Italy. There’s also a strong belief that European companies will be more competitive than their US and Chinese equivalents were before the crisis.

Jean-Marc Ollagnier, CEO of Accenture in Europe, said: “Confidence is critical in the current economic environment, which is still volatile and uncertain. The optimism regarding Europe’s economic recovery and competitiveness offers European companies a unique opportunity to reinforce their leadership and close the gap with their American and Asian competitors. 

“However, this will depend on how well they translate optimism into bold actions. The biggest risk is that European business leaders remain over-reliant on government support, stay on the defensive and underinvest in game-changing innovations - because their global competition won’t wait.”

Accenture has highlighted a number of ways European executives could be overcautious in the coming months. These include holding back on game-changing innovation, as 53 per cent of respondents said they are slowing investment in this area and won’t be relaunching any initiatives in the next six months. In comparison, 33 per cent of business leaders in North America are taking this approach and 49 per cent in Asia Pacifc.

When it comes to investing in initiatives to help facilitate the rebound, just one in seven European companies are taking this approach. In Asia Pacfic, the proportion is one in four, and in North America, it is one in three. Business leaders in Europe were also found to be less likely to collaborate with other companies to aid the rebound, with just 48 per cent prepared to do so, compared with 53 per cent in North America and 55 per cent in Asia-Pacific.

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