New figures from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR)

New figures from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) reveal the highest levels of confidence ever recorded among the global technology community. Expectations for greater profitability and employment are also rising. The boost in sentiment has coincided with a bumper period of listings and mergers and while welcomed, Grant Thornton urges business leaders at technology firms to continue to look beyond IPOs and M&As, investing in R&D, to ensure plans are in place for sustainable long-term growth.

The IBR reveals that 67% of technology business globally are optimistic about the economic outlook, the highest of all sectors and well above the global average (46%). Expectations of greater profitability are also on the rise: net 60% of tech business leaders expect an increase over the next 12 months, making technology the most bullish sector globally and again comfortably above the global average (45%). At the same time, hiring looks set to increase dramatically with net 47% expecting to hire workers in the year ahead, up from 34% this time last year and higher than the global average (35%).

Steven Perkins, global leader for the Technology Industry at Grant Thornton, commented:

 “There’s undoubtedly an air of confidence coursing through the global technology sector, which is reflected in our findings. The sector has been dominating IPO and M&A headlines over recent months with Apple buying Beats, Facebook’s purchases of Oculus Rift and WhatsApp, and the IPOs of Chinese firm JD.com and Airbnb notable examples. Greater confidence in the economic outlooks leads greater risk taking, and the feeling that right now, the global tech sector is dynamic, exciting and in good health. 

 “However, history tells us that the sector cannot rely on listings and mergers alone to ensure continued growth. Indeed, the recent flotations of AO.com and Boohoo prompted warnings from analysts that online retailers are overvalued compared to traditional retailers, which will remind many of the warnings we heard at the height of the dot com boom near the turn of the Century. The recent cooling of the IPO market and associated valuations may represent a healthy “pressure relief valve”.

 “Business leaders at technology firms remain focused on strategies to sustain growth beyond the short-term boost that a listing or a merger can provide. This means planning for revenue streams in the coming years, not just the coming months, by looking at new areas of activity and new regions to break into. Examples are abound as established market leaders leverage M&A to compete in new business models such as As-A-Service,  and new market leaders  anticipate the next great thing. The IBR uncovers a growing commitment among tech firms to increase investment over the next 12 months, both in R&D and new machinery. But this needs to continue beyond next year, if a return to boom and bust is to be avoided.” 

 

Notes to editors

The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) provides insight into the views and expectations of more than 12,500 businesses per year across 45 economies. This unique survey draws upon 22 years of trend data for most European participants and 11 years for many non-European economies. For more information, please visit: www.internationalbusinessreport.com 

Data collection

Data collection is managed by Grant Thornton's core research partner – Experian. Questionnaires are translated into local languages with each participating country having the option to ask a small number of country specific questions in addition to the core questionnaire. Fieldwork is undertaken on a quarterly basis. The research is carried out primarily by telephone.

Sample

IBR is a survey of both listed and privately held businesses. The data for this release are drawn from interviews with more than 150 chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives from all the technology sector conducted between January and May 2014. 

John Vita 

Director of Public Relations and External Affairs

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