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.

Stalling optimism

With subdued global trade and a weakening domestic economy1, businesses are feeling cautious. Just 65% of Singaporean businesses expect their sales to grow in the next 12 months, considerably below the global and Asia-Pacific (APAC) averages of 79% and 77% respectively. 

Singapore's subdued outlook is at odds with the rest of Southeast Asia, with 81% of firms in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) projecting growth in the next year. This makes ASEAN amongst the most bullish trade blocs in the world (the global average is 79%). Short-term business optimism may be down, but Singaporean businesses should be alive to opportunities in new markets. 

Among companies trading internationally, the outlook for international trade over the next year is better than their overall sales growth (73% projecting international growth versus 65% projecting overall sales growth). 

State of play

Look to new horizons to overcome challenging trading environment

While nearly two-thirds (65%) of Singaporean businesses expect some sales growth over the next year, over a five-year view, that number rises to almost three-quarters (74%). 

Firms who think their business will shrink are expecting increased competition (54%), disruption of their supply chain (52%), rising tariffs (51%) and an unfavourable political environment (50%) to have an impact. 

To counter threats or prevent business shrinkage, about a quarter of the companies mention improving quality of products or services (27%), expanding into new markets (27%) and investing in the skillsets of their employees (24%) among their top three strategies. 

65 %

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Singaporean businesses expect some sales growth over the next year

What you need to know

  1. 1

    65% of businesses expect to grow in the next year – well below the global average of 79%.

  2. 2

    Companies trading internationally are more optimistic, with 73% projecting international growth.

  3. 3

    47% of companies expect their businesses to change totally or substantially in the next five years.

What your business can do

  •  Expand your horizons. A quarter of firms are looking at new markets to overcome threats.

  • Assess your workforce. Of all Singaporean firms surveyed, 24% are investing in upskilling. Interestingly, 42% of Singaporean businesses citing a pessimistic outlook said they are worried about limited skillsets.

  • Optimise supply chains. To do so in the next three years, Singaporean businesses plan to increase their use of digital technology (30%), enter new markets (28%) and source lower cost suppliers (22%).