The International Business Report (IBR), formerly known as the International Business Owners Survey (IBOS), provides insight into the views and expectations of over 7200 privately held businesses across 32 economies.
This unique survey draws upon 17 years of trend data for original participants of IBR's predecessor the European Business Survey (EBS) and 7 years of trend data for original participants of IBOS.
2010 focus on Australia
Ahead of every other major industrial economy, Australia posted 1.3 per cent real GDP growth inb 2009, although the recovery has slowed in the first quarter of 2010. The 2010 IBR survey tells us that businesses in Australia are considerably more optimistic regarding the outlook for the economy over the next 12 months, and two-thirds expect to see an upturn inthe global economy by the end of 2010.
2010 Global Overview
This year’s research, the 18th in the series, coincided with signs of a recovery in the global economy as massive stimulus packages and looser monetary policy measures helped restore consumerconfidence and supported the re-emergence of global trade.
However, whilst the recovery has been strong and swift in some economies, most noticeably in emerging Asian economies, it has been slow and patchy in others, where fears of a double-dip recession have not gone away.
Focus on: Retail
The retail industry suffered during the global economic downturn as declining GDP growth and falling personal disposable income hit retail sales. Having slowed down in 2008, global non-food retail sales growth contracted by around five per cent in 2009 as fears over fiscal austerity measures and unemployment impacted on consumer confidence.
Focus on: Manufacturing
The manufacturing sectors of many economies across the globe have led the recovery from the deepest recession since World War II. The collapse of world trade, a lack of access to credit anddeclining consumer confidence saw demand plummet across the sector, but in recent months output and orders have increased dramatically.
Focus on: Healthcare
The healthcare sector has been headline news this year with the Obama administration's Affordable Health Care for America Act moving through congress in the United States. In many countries there still remains no viable alternative to private healthcare, but businesses still noted decreases in the purchase of prescription drugs in 2009 as consumers tightened their belts.
Focus on: Technology
2009 was a pretty dismal year for the technology sector as businesses and governments around the world delayed repairs and purchases due to the difficult economic situation. Global IT spending is estimated to have dropped by 8.9 per cent across the year.
Focus on: Transport
The transport sector has suffered more than many in the economic downturn with rising fuel prices impacting on costs and reduced levels of private consumption impacting on demand for consumer goods and holidays.
Focus on: Cleantech
Whilst the meeting of world leaders in Copenhagen in late 2009 did not ultimately produce a binding climate change accord, the importance of the cleantech sector to the world economy continues to grow. The effects of the economic downturn did not pass the sector by – total venture investment across North America, Europe, China and India dropped to levels similar to those observed in 2007.
Focus on: Construction and real estate
The construction and real estate sector has suffered as much as any part of the global economy during the downturn. Construction in many markets, including Dubai, Ireland, the US and the UK, has suffered rapid and sustained cuts in prices not experienced by other sectors.
Focus on: Food & Beverage
The food and beverage sector did not escape the financial turmoil of the past 12 months, although some sub-sectors suffered more than others. As credit dried up and consumers tightened their belts, higher end restaurant sales plummeted, but the subsequent increase in people eating at home has been a boon for supermarkets.
Focus on: Hospitality
2009 was a year of almost unparalleled turmoil in the hospitality sector. Commercial demand for hotel rooms collapsed as businesses slashed costs, reigning inemployee expenses in favour of more cost-efficient meeting techniques – such as video conferencing – whilst the leisure tourism sector retreated rapidly asconsumers cut back on holidays and shunned foreign travel.
Focus on: Financial services
The financial services sector found itself at the centre of the economic storm, sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Whilst the ensuing government bailouts saved some of the major players in the sector, the regulatory measures introduced have been severe, not only on those institutions most heavily implicated in the crisis, such as banks, but across the entire sector.
Focus on: Emerging markets
The importance of emerging markets has been brought into sharper focus as the world emerges from recession. The Grant Thornton emerging markets opportunity index ranks the level of opportunity for investors in 27 emerging economies across the globe.
Click on the link below to listen to our podcast with emerging markets experts
Mergers and Acquisitions: Prospects for global recovery
Privately held businesses are naturally cautious about their M&A plans for 2010 given the challenging economic conditions and difficulty in raising debt finance they experienced in 2009, but there are some encouraging signs for the future.