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.

Europe’s rising star?

French companies have had plenty to think about in the last year. Domestically, the so-called ‘gilet jaunes’ movement has threatened to scupper President Macron’s plans for business-friendly economic reforms, while Brexit has continued to cause uncertainty throughout the EU, France’s core export market. Despite this, French firms are feeling quite positive, with some reason. France is relatively sheltered from external and cyclical pressures, and HSBC Global Research forecasts growth of 1.43% in 2019.

State of play

New markets and new tech give grounds for optimism

French businesses are optimistic about growth, with levels of optimism above the global average. 84% of companies expect their sales to grow next year compared to 79% in Europe and globally.

From an internal perspective, investment in technology and the availability of a skilled and motivated workforce are cited by many businesses as fuelling optimism. Externally, access to new markets, transformative technologies, quality suppliers and raw materials are all seen as key factors. Businesses are also reducing their reliance on exporting to the EU by looking to new markets, with Asia Pacific (APAC) and particularly Australia seen as a key opportunity for expansion.

84 %

of companies expect their sales to grow next year compared to 79% in Europe and globally

Expectations for future business growth

Expect sales to grow – Next year*
Expect sales to grow – Next five years*
Grow by 15% or more – Next year
Grow by 15% or more – Next five years
Grow by 6-14% – Next year
Grow by 6-14% – Next five years

Next year Next five years
Grow by 5% or less 38% 33%
Stay the same 6% 7%
Expect sales to shrink 8% 8%

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

What you need to know

  1. 1

    Half of French businesses are more optimistic about growth than a year ago – well ahead of Europe as a whole (41%).

  2. 2

    Firms expecting sales to shrink cite current distribution channels becoming obsolete as the most important factor.

  3. 3

    Only 41% of French companies expect substantial change in their businesses in the next five years, compared to 50% globally.

What your business can do

  • Invest in innovation. 27% of companies see this as the most important strategy to overcome threats to the business.
  • Take advantage of the opening up of new markets. 24% of businesses are looking to expand internationally.
  • Improve the quality of your products and services. 24% of French businesses count this among their top three priorities.