Belgium

HSBC Navigator provides comprehensive insight into the now, next and how for business, representing the views of over 9,100 business decision-makers across 35 markets. This report gives an understanding of how businesses like yours can continue to grow now and in the future.

Overview

Macroeconomic stability untouched by political uncertainty
Belgium may have spent much of 2019 without a federal government, but that does not seem to have adversely affected its economic prospects so far. In the World Economic Forum’s list of the most competitive economies globally, it ranks joint first for macroeconomic stability with a near-perfect score of 100.1

State of play

Businesses cautious despite apparently firm foundations
Despite the country’s stable economy and its strategic position at the hub of the European Union, Belgian businesses are more conservative in outlook than their global and European peers. This trend applies across short-term and long-term outlooks.

Less than a third (32%) of Belgian firms are more optimistic than a year ago, compared to 41% throughout Europe and nearly half (47%) globally. Meanwhile, considerably more than average feel pessimistic.

Encouragingly, 72% of Belgian companies expect sales to grow in the next year. Of those, only 11% are high-growth firms, meaning they expect growth of 15% or more in the next year. This is about half the global average of 22%.

72 %

Encouragingly, 72% of Belgian companies expect sales to grow in the next year

Expectations for future business growth

Expect sales to grow – Next year*
72%
Grow by 15% or more – Next year
11%
Grow by 6-14% – Next year
31%
Grow by 5% or less – Next year
30%
Stay the same – Next year
10%
Expect sales to shrink – Next year
16%

Expect sales to grow* 72%
Grow by 15% or more 15%
Grow by 6-14% 30%
Grow by 5% or less 28%
Stay the same 9%
Expect sales to shrink 15%

*This is the sum of grow by 5% or less, 6-14%, 15% or more.

What you need to know

  1. 1

    Belgian companies are conservative in both their short-term and long-term outlooks – 72% of Belgian firms predict growth over five years versus 82% globally.

  2. 2

    While 72% of Belgian firms expect growth in the next year, only 11% expect growth of 15% or more.

  3. 3

    Only 38% of Belgian businesses expect to change totally or substantially in the next five years, compared to 50% globally.

What your business can do

  • Invest in technology. This is seen as the top strategy for growth among Belgian firms and is especially high for corporates.
  • Improve your products and services. This is seen as a key way to counter threats by Belgian businesses.
  • Enter new markets. Belgian firms making changes to their supply chain in the next three years are more focused on doing business in new markets than last year (2019: 28% versus 2018: 11%).