U.S. CPG, Retail CEOs More Optimistic About Growth Than Global Peers, Study Shows
An overwhelming majority (95 percent) of U.S. consumer goods and retail CEOs are confident about the growth outlook for the global economy, the industry and their companies over the next three years, despite potential technological risks, according to a recent survey by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm. In other parts of the world, CPG and retail CEOs do not share the same optimism. KPMG surveyed 41 U.S. and 134 global CPG and retail CEOs on topics including growth, corporate strategy, disruption and risk.
“While CEOs are optimistic, they recognize the need to continue to transform their businesses to build stronger relationships in this era of the ‘connected customer,’” said Mark Larson, KPMG's national line of business leader, consumer and retail, in a company press release. “Technology, as the key enabler to delivering the right customer experience, will play a huge role in determining which companies will thrive and which ones will fall into obscurity.”
According to the survey, 68 percent of U.S. CEOs are concerned that they're not leveraging digital to connect with their customers as effectively as possible, while 33 percent of their global peers have the same concerns. In addition, two-thirds of U.S. CEOs agreed that technological innovation is likely to disrupt the sector in the next three years, weakening or eliminating some traditional players. To address these concerns, U.S. CEOs said they'll invest heavily in physical and digital infrastructure over the next three years.
Regarding technology investment, 56 percent of U.S. CEOs cited cognitive technologies — including artificial intelligence and machine learning — and 41 percent selected Internet of Things as the most significant areas. However, 29 percent of these CEOs acknowledged they will need to train their current workforce and attract new talent to meet their organizations’ technology challenges in the next three years.
As these changes take place, CEOs will need to ensure that their return on investment is realized. For example, while 73 percent of U.S. CPG and retail CEOs said that new investments or ventures are evaluated for customer impact, and 85 percent said their middle and back-office processes are aligned to reflect a more customer-centric approach to their front office, 63 percent said their organizations struggle to evaluate the ROI from customer-focused programs.