• Service: Enterprise, Family business
  • Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 12/3/2013

Measuring the confidence of the Family Business communities across Europe 

Measuring confidence
In The European Family Business Barometer: Sustaining future growth, we announced the release of the Family Business Barometer, a collaboration between European Family Businesses (EFB) and KPMG. The Barometer gauges the confidence levels of family-owned businesses across Europe, and revealed that family businesses are optimistic despite the slow growth in Europe.
 Measuring the confidence  

The Barometer is based on the responses of an online survey from 600 questionnaires completed by EFB Members across 14 European countries. The past few years have been difficult for all countries across Europe and the confidence levels in many businesses has been low.

However, in contrast to many other sectors, family businesses seem confident about the future with 54% of respondents indicating that they have a positive outlook for their business for the next 6-12 months.

Sustaining future growth

The ability of the family business community to navigate their way through challenges such as a squeeze on profitability; decline in sales; and the weight of administrative burdens – all identified as the key issues facing family businesses in the current market – is evident.

For family businesses, the future is about more than just survival though, it’s about continued sustainable growth. With 43% of respondents reporting that their turnover has increased during the last six months, and 26% indicating that they have maintained turnover, the future for many appears bright.

The economic situation of family business

In addition, unlike many sectors, family businesses have been bucking the trend of disinvestment with over 76% respondents either increasing or maintaining the size of their workforce; 63% considering investing in activity in countries beyond their own; and 85% indicating that they anticipate growth for their family business during the next six months.

It’s reassuring to see that family businesses are not only confident in their ability to achieve sustainable growth but that many respondents have a clear sight on their source of that growth. It’s interesting to see that this confidence is supported by the willingness to invest in activities traditionally associated with generating longer term rewards.

90% of respondents indicated that they have a strategic investment plan for their business, ranging from investing in internationalisation, diversification and continued development of the core business. This is further supported by the results that only 28% of those surveyed indicated that they would be investing less than 1% in research and development activities.

Challenges and concerns of family business

 Measuring the confidence  

The challenges of the past few years have been unrelenting for many businesses. It’s therefore no surprise to see that a decline in profitability and decrease in turnover/ volume is high on the agenda for many of the family businesses surveyed.


The biggest surprise is that access to credit to finance daily operations features quite low on the list of concerns with just 11% of businesses surveyed noting this as a major issue facing their business in the current environment. This figure could however, be misleading, as 17% have indicated that limited access to credit to finance investments is a major issue.

Investment in the future

This could be a sign of confidence in respondents’ ability to access finance or a willingness, or acceptance, that self-funding is the route open to them. Investment continues to be high on the agenda of many European family businesses. The results suggest that investment in the core business continues to be the priority.

However with 26% of respondents indicating that they will be investing in internationalisation, the barriers to growth outside of a single market are no more. Successful businesses are likely to invest in a mix of investments and divestments reducing their exposure to risk of investing in a single approach.

The future of the family business market appears to no longer be firmly fixed in the domestic market, with 63% of respondents surveyed indicating that they’re considering overseas investment opportunities.

Find out more

 Measuring the confidence  

European Family Businesses (EFB) is the federation of national associations representing long-term family owned enterprises, including small, medium-sized and larger companies. EFB’s mission is to press for policies that recognise the fundamental contribution of family businesses in Europe’s economy and create a level playing field when compared to other types of companies.

KPMG’s Global Family Business Centre of Excellence is designed to leverage KPMG member firms’ Family Business expertise, enabling them to offer specialized insight to clients, and position KPMG member firms as leading advisors to family businesses.

Download the European Family Business Barometer (PDF 2.61MB) now.

Christophe Bernard

Christophe Bernard
I am a KPMG partner based in the French firm’s Paris office, responsible for encouraging the growth of our firms’ middle markets practice across Europe, Middle East and Africa, a majority of that market comprises of family businesses.

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