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.


Canadian firms stay the course as economic indicators weaken

While Canada’s businesses expect to grow in the next year and beyond, forecasts are subdued. Weaker global growth is hitting exports and making domestic consumers wary of spending. The economic outlook also faces the downside risks of US/China trade tensions, volatile oil prices and high household debt1. But companies are prepared to use a number of strategies to mitigate threats at home and abroad.

State of play

Five factors driving (modest) growth 

84% of Canadian businesses expect their sales to grow over the next 12 months – a figure slightly higher than both the global average (79%) and the US (80%). But while 34% of US firms forecast growth of 15% or more, their Canadian counterparts have lower expectations. Only one in five (21%) foresee a large boost to business.

Where growth is expected, businesses point to five main drivers. Internally, companies are looking for efficiency from improving productivity (30%), investing in technology (29%) and motivating their workforce (28%). Externally, the top factors are new market opportunities (33%) coupled with better quality and availability of suppliers and raw materials (27%).

84 %

of Canadian businesses expect their sales to grow over the next 12 months

Strategies to overcome the threats or potential decline of businesses

Improving the quality of products/services
Expanding into new markets
Investing in technology
Investing in customer experience

What you need to know

  1. 1

    Over the next five years, less than a fifth (19%) of Canadian firms expect sales growth of 15% or more.

  2. 2

    But only 7% of companies are anticipating that their business will shrink.

  3. 3

    More than half of firms expect that their business will totally or substantially change in the next five years, in line with the global average, but behind the US (66%).

What your business can do

  • Improve the quality of products and services. 33% of Canadian firms are using this strategy to minimise risk from competitors when growth slows and margins tighten.
  • Consider markets beyond your traditional trading horizon. 33% of Canadian businesses are looking further afield.
  • Remember that people power business. Growing firms cite motivating workforce as a main driver (28%), 23% of all firms invest in customer experience to overcome potential threats.