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.


Domestic demand picks up the slack from global slowdown

After a decade of outperformance, Germany’s export-driven economy has suffered from the slowdown in global demand. However, domestic demand remains resilient with unemployment at record lows. The robust services sector and easier credit conditions are underpinning growth.1

State of play

Workforce the leading factor in growth predictions

German companies are positive about growth but are less bullish than their European peers. More than three-quarters of companies (78%) project business growth in the next five years, compared to 82% worldwide and 89% in Europe.

However, only one-third of businesses in Germany are more optimistic than they were a year ago, a lower proportion than the 47% globally and 41% across Europe. Among European markets, only Belgium is less optimistic.

Workforce issues drive growth far more than in any other market. More than a third of businesses believe workforce motivation, and the quality and availability of skilled labour, are the most important contributors to growth.

78 %

More than three-quarters of companies (78%) project business growth in the next five years

Strategies to overcome the threats or potential decline of business

Improving the quality of your products or services
Investing in new skills in the workforce
Expanding into new markets
Investing in innovation
Investing in the customer experience
Expanding digital platforms and channels

Investing in employee wellbeing 19%
Investing in data protection 15%
Improving environmental and ethical sustainability 12%
Tightening cashflow management 11%
Vertical integration or shortening the supply chain 10%
Investing in IP protection 10%
Investing in better quality raw materials/suppliers 10%
Increasing cybersecurity vigilance 8%
Others 2%

What you need to know

  1. 1

    Only 15% of businesses expect growth of 15% or more in the next year compared to 22% globally.

  2. 2

    Only a third of German companies expect substantial or total change in their business in the next five years, compared to half of their global competitors.

  3. 3

    Nearly a third of German companies will invest in workforce skills to maintain competitiveness against just one in five of their international peers.

What your business can do

  • Focus on the skills, motivation and quality of your workforce. 37% of German companies forecasting growth cite a motivated workforce as a main driver, compared to 25% globally and the quality and availability of a skilled workforce is driving growth for 35%, compared to 24% worldwide.
  • Embrace new ideas to boost growth. The top external driver for companies expecting sales to grow is new markets opening up (36%), while introducing new products or services is an internal driver for 27%.