TORONTO, February 14, 2012 - More than two-thirds of financial executives say they are increasing their budgets to support new product development in preparation for market expansion, according to KPMG's annual Consumer CFO Survey. Over 80 percent of all respondents believe marketing to new middle class consumers in emerging high-growth markets will drive long-term success.
"The overall goal among respondents is clearly one of growth," says Willy Kruh, KPMG, Global Head of Consumer Markets. "Which strategies companies pursue depends on the maturity of a given market. We're seeing that in emerging markets, product innovation has the most potential as a growth strategy. But most importantly, as many of our respondents have remarked, it's always critical to determine how well an opportunity aligns with a company's core competencies and if there's willingness to wait for the ROI."
KPMG's 2012 Consumer CFO Survey: Turning Global Risk into Opportunity surveyed 350 financial executives (34 from Canada) in the retail, consumer goods manufacturing and luxury goods sectors. Key survey findings include:
- Canada and the US expected to offer greatest growth potential in 2012
- Supply chain efficiencies a priority for Canadian consumer companies
- Leveraging the power of digital for consumer engagement a top trend
- Sustainable practices evolve as a core business issue around the world
In our own Backyard
Even with growth projected to be slower in the US and Canada, 46 percent of all respondents believe the two markets provide the greatest opportunity, with China and Brazil ranking second and third, respectively.
"Surprisingly, globally, with the bulk of new consumers coming from countries in Asia, and notwithstanding the fragile consumer confidence in developed markets, the majority of respondents see North America as a great growth opportunity, at least in the short-term," says Kruh. "For Canadian companies, domestic growth will come by focusing on consumer behaviour and price sensitivity and more importantly on differentiating through innovation and new product development."
Supply chain management is the focus for Canadian companies this year with over 50 percent of Canadian respondents saying they will work to increase efficiencies to meet the product needs of emerging markets. At home, Canadian consumer companies will place a higher priority (59 percent) on expanding sales activities for existing product lines to meet the needs of consumers.
"The growth picture for consumer companies is quite divergent and this year will be telltale for them," commented Kruh. "Those that invest wisely between home and abroad, uphold their commitment to product and service localization, and keep the consumer at the core of their business should see their efforts rewarded this year."
Nearly 90 percent of Canadian respondents believe a solid digital strategy is critical to delivering an integrated consumer engagement program. This year, over a third of all respondents will use mobile commerce to maximize sales followed closely by customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The same CFOs expect their revenues to be lower this year, but remain confident the investments will position them for long-term success at home and abroad.
"Technology has changed the way brands and consumers interact," says Kruh. "It's critical to be present in the conversation, leverage technology to meet consumers' needs, and deliver content that's relevant and meaningful."
Sustainability at the Core
Sustainability continues a steady climb up the corporate agenda with nearly three quarters of global respondents seeing it as a tool for competitive positioning, fostering innovation and strengthening brand reputation.
"Our study shows over half of all respondents see sustainability as more than just about being a good corporate citizen, it's also having a positive impact on their operating costs," states Kruh. "They recognize the importance of the investment and are seeing the rewards across many functional areas of their businesses."
About the Survey
Turning Global Risk into Opportunity is based in part on results from a survey of 350 businesses worldwide, carried out in November 2011. The survey focused on senior finance professionals in retail, consumer goods manufacturing and luxury goods companies. More than 40% of respondents were chief financial officers. Almost all companies in the survey have global revenues in excess of US$500m annually and almost two-thirds of the total respondents have revenues in excess of US$1bn. Respondents were spread evenly around key regions of the world, including North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa
KPMG LLP, an Audit, Tax and Advisory firm (kpmg.ca) and a Canadian limited liability partnership established under the laws of Ontario, is the Canadian member firm of KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"). KPMG member firms around the world have 145,000 professionals, in 152 countries.
The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity, and describes itself as such.
For more information, contact:
Manager, Public Relations
KPMG in Canada