Our Navigator research provides you with valuable insights and opinions from businesses around the world. As part of that research, we asked more than 10,000 business decision-makers across 39 markets, countries and territories to tell us how the current crisis has affected them and changed their plans for the near to mid-term future.


Fiscal authorities in Europe have really stepped up to the plate to help economies deal with the effects of COVID-19. In July, EU leaders agreed on a €750bn recovery effort. Since our Navigator 2020 survey closed in October, the European Parliament and Council have agreed more funds (the total now reaches more than €2.3bn) and individual governments have ramped up their own support. This punchier policy response, coupled with the potential for widespread vaccination in 2021, will help economies recover as restrictions lift.


Despite COVID-related challenges, European businesses are adapting to the new normal

Unsurprisingly, there is greater pessimism now than a year ago among the 3,680 companies interviewed for our survey in 13 European markets. However, many firms are taking advantage of the opportunities for international trade and growth these challenges present.

Two-thirds don’t expect to return to pre-COVID profitability until the end of 2022. Yet the majority are adapting (58% in Europe, the same as globally). Indeed, more than a quarter are thriving, with just under a fifth merely surviving. And although struggling companies are cutting costs, almost two-thirds of respondents are planning to increase business investment.

Most have reshaped their supply chains, mainly to become more digital or resilient. Rather than reducing trade, two-thirds (65%) intend to keep trading internationally in the next two years. And thanks to customer demand and other factors, over a third (36%) of all markets globally identify markets in Europe as their top three choices for expansion.

Most and least challenged countries

Most companies are adapting to the changing environment. But there is considerable polarisation between countries with higher proportions of thriving businesses and those with higher proportions that are surviving day to day.

  Thriving in the new normal
Surviving day to day
Poland 35 9
Italy 33 10
Germany 32 10
Sweden 32 16
Netherlands 28 22
Russia 26 3
Greece 25 15
France 21 18
Spain 21 16
Switzerland 21 14
Ireland 20 19
UK 19 23
Belgium 19 27