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CEOs Foresee Changes Resulting from Technology

Leaders also downgrade expectations related to emerging markets, instead favoring Europe

February 6, 2014

The seismic shifts wrought by technological change are ongoing, at least in the eyes of CEOs in the US. A December 2013 survey of US CEOs conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that the largest percentage of those surveyed, 86%, believed that technological advances would have the greatest transformative effect on their businesses.

Almost seven in 10 thought demographic shifts would result in massive change, while nearly six in 10 foresaw shifts in global economic power having that effect. Significantly fewer executives expected resource scarcity/climate change or urbanization to have a dramatic effect on business.

Trends that US CEOs Believe Will Transform Their Business the Most*, Dec 2013 (% of respondents)

Executives also indicated that they were currently investing in a range of technologies in order to help drive growth. While 44% of respondents were earmarking funds for business analytics, 41% were spending on socially enabled business processes. Nearly four in 10 had made outlays for mobile customer engagement, the only customer-facing technology that the poll question included.

Technologies in Which US CEOs Are Currently Investing for Business Growth, Dec 2013 (% of respondents)

US business leaders were also less focused on the potential importance of emerging markets than they were in 2011, likely due to volatility in the economies of several countries. While 69% of respondents thought China to be important to growth in 2011, only 42% thought the same for 2014. The percentage of those polled who thought Brazil was important fell from 30% to 22% over the same time period, while it dropped from 31% to just 8% for India.

The PwC study instead found that interest was shifting back toward Europe, particularly Germany and the UK, attributing those gains to a variety of factors, including social cohesion, a quick adoption of new digital technologies and the presence of strong political and regulatory institutions.


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