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.

A realistic outlook

Japanese companies are conservative in their outlook for the next 12 months, as weakening exports contribute to the view that business will stay the same. Only a quarter (24%) of Japanese firms are expecting their business to change totally or substantially over the next five years, compared to 50% globally and 48% in Asia-Pacific (APAC). Over that same time period, 62% are expecting to grow sales, although that is lower than the global average (82%). 

State of play

Conservative optimism for growth

Companies in Japan hold a cautious business outlook for the next year – with just over half (57%) optimistic about growth compared with 79% globally. Corporates and domestic operators are the most conservative about growth in the coming 12 months (50% for both). A longer-term outlook suggests greater optimism, with 62% expecting growth in the next five years – although that figure is also below the global and APAC averages (both 82%). 

Of those businesses that are expecting growth, most say opportunities will be driven by the opening up of markets, improved productivity, investments in technology, the introduction of new products and services and transformative technologies.

Current top trading partners

North America
Central and South America

Global 79%
Japan 57%

What you need to know

  1. 1

    Only 57% of Japanese businesses expect to see growth in the next year – below the global average (79%).

  2. 2

    Firms expecting growth in the next year say it will come predominantly from the opening up of new markets, improved productivity and investments in technology.

  3. 3

    Only a quarter (24%) of Japanese firms are expecting their businesses to change totally or substantially in the next five years, compared with 50% globally.

What your business can do

  • Invest in improving the quality of products and services. 38% of Japanese firms say this is part of their strategy.

  • Invest in new skills in the workforce. 26% of Japanese companies plan to do so.

  • Consider supply chain changes to reduce costs. 44% of Japanese companies expecting to alter their supply chains think cost reduction will be a main benefit.