Saudi Arabia

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.

Growth outlook remains upbeat in the Kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s business community remains upbeat against an uncertain geopolitical backdrop. Non-oil initiatives, such as the recent opening of the Kingdom to international tourism1, will be critical to progress. 

State of play

International promise stokes confidence

Saudi Arabian business leaders see major transformation ahead – almost two-thirds expect their businesses to change radically over the next five years. But they are bullish about their ability to weather this disruption: 89% foresee their companies growing over the same period and almost four in 10 Saudi businesses are expecting their businesses to grow by 15% or more in the next year.

Trade prospects beyond the region are fuelling confidence. European markets are already rivalling the Middle East and North African (MENA) region in importance.

Sustainability is also of growing importance. Roughly seven in 10 businesses say they have a role to play in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

7 in 10

Roughly seven in 10 businesses say they have a role to play in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

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

Grow by 5% or less


Stay the same


Expect sales to shrink  


Next five years

Grow by 5% or less


Stay the same


Expect sales to shrink  


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


What you need to know

  1. 1

    Most Saudi Arabian businesses (57%) are more optimistic about growth than a year ago – well above the global average (47%).

  2. 2

    Confidence about international trade leapt from 74% in 2018 to 87% in 2019.

  3. 3

    Top factors contributing to a positive outlook are the opening up of new markets (46%) and government incentives (35%).

What your business can do

  • Look further afield for growth. Three in 10 Saudi Arabian businesses say this is their strategy.

  • Transform your supply chain. Saudi firms making changes are seeking more international suppliers (28%) and increasing use of digital/technology (28%).

  • Develop the skills in your workforce. This is one of companies’ top three ways to counter threats.