South Africa

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.

Confidence shines in the Rainbow Nation
The Rainbow Nation has yet to turn the corner after a tumultuous few years during which GDP per capita barely grew1. With the country enduring its longest downward phase of the debt cycle since 19452, the World Bank has cut its growth forecast for South Africa through to 2021. However, current president Cyril Ramaphosa promises reforms to stabilise the economy and stimulate growth.

State of play

Unbridled optimism despite economic instability
South African companies are highly optimistic about their prospects, both in the short and longer term. A significant 92% project growth for their business over the next year. The responses of South African firms indicate a large number of the kind of highly entrepreneurial businesses the study characterises as high-growth firms. A third of South African companies are classed high-growth firms, meaning they are predicting sales growth of 15% or more in the next year. Over five years the percentage of firms with expectations of such high growth jumps to 49%.

Aside from targeting ambitious growth, three-quarters of South African companies are prepared for total or substantial change in their business over the next year.

92 %

of South African firms project growth for their business over the next year

Expectations for future business growth

Expect sales to grow – Next year*
Grow by 15% or more – Next year
Grow by 6-14% – Next year
Grow by 5% or less – Next year
Stay the same – Next year
Expect sales to shrink – Next year

Expect sales to grow* 93%
Grow by 15% or more 49%
Grow by 6-14% 33%
Grow by 5% or less 11%
Stay the same 1%
Expect sales to shrink 5%
*This is the sum of grow by 5% or less, 6-14%, 15% or more.

What you need to know

  1. 1

    South African firms are among the most optimistic globally about prospects for growth.

  2. 2

    Expectations of high growth over five years are even more positive than for short-term growth.

  3. 3

    Agility and resilience are high, with 75% of South African companies ready for their business to change substantially or completely over the next five years.

What your business can do

  • Adopt a more entrepreneurial approach to prepare for the substantial changes that are increasingly likely in every market.
  • Improve your products and services. 36% of South African companies see this as the best way to counter threats.
  • Consider entering new markets. Whether to protect or grow, breaking into new markets is considered paramount by agile, resilient firms.