Indian CEOs less confident about economic growth

About 19 per cent CEOs in India expect the earnings of their companies to either remain flat or decline.


Only 33 per cent of chief executive officers (CEOs) in India are confident of the growth in domestic economy this year and only 42 per cent are optimistic about growth prospects of their company, according to a recent survey conducted by KPMG International.

At the beginning of the year, 78 per cent of them were confident of the growth in domestic economy and 84 per cent optimistic about growth prospects of their company.

About 125 CEOs from India participated in a survey conducted in January and February before many key markets were beginning to feel the full impact of the pandemic.

In August and September, KPMG in India conducted a follow-up pulse survey of 100 CEOs across the country to understand how CEOs’ priorities have changed since the onset of the crisis.

This weakened view on the growth prospects is in line with that of CEOs globally. CEOs in India are also less confident of their companies’ earnings. About 19 per cent CEOs in India expect the earnings of their companies to either remain flat or decline.

However, CEOs in India seemed to be better positioned than their global counterparts in terms of growth prospects of their companies’ earnings with 23 per cent CEOs globally foreseeing their companies’ earnings, stagnating or declining.

CEOs globally feel a greater need to re-evaluate their purpose amid COVID-19 than CEOs in India. About 79 per cent of CEOs globally have had to re-evaluate their purpose as compared to only 37 per cent of CEOs in India, highlighting the confidence that CEOs in India are placing on their current leadership approach and purpose.

In India, COVID-19 has led to a dramatic shift in how business leaders are assessing potential risks now compared to the pre-pandemic times, show KPMG survey findings.

CEOs in India while ensuring short-term survival of their companies are likely to delve deeper into the impact of this crisis to realign strategies for long-term growth. About one-third of CEOs in India highlight digital disruption as an imminent risk — a three-fold increase since January.

CEOs in India also view supply chain risk as a major threat. The number of CEOs highlighting this as a critical risk rose five-fold since the onset of the pandemic. About 89 per cent CEOs in India will continue to build on use of digital collaboration and communication tools.

With remote working becoming the norm, 77 per cent CEOs in India believe they have access to wider talent pools and 48 per cent will consider downsizing their office spaces. Also 67 per cent CEOs in India want to realise climate change gains made during the pandemic.

The KPMG survey findings show that CEOs have invested heavily in technology during the lockdown period and are betting on major dimensions of digital transformation to make their companies more operationally resilient, agile and customer-focused.

CEOs in India strongly believe that digital transformation will continue to be a central pillar in defining their company’s future prospects. As a result, companies are likely to strengthen their digital channels to enhance customer outreach.

Given the pressing need to adopt technology across business functions, tackling threats such as cyber security and data privacy will be inevitable. 

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