United States

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.

On the economic edge

Despite rising protectionism and trade skirmishes with a variety of allies, optimism among US businesses is still high. The trade war with China has not forestalled continued economic growth in 2019 as near-full employment helps to power strong consumer spending1. However, business investment is weakening2 and manufacturing is slowing down3, so the country’s longest-ever expansion – more than 10 uninterrupted years – faces challenges in 2020.

State of play

New tech, new products and new markets

US businesses are confident about growth – in fact, levels of optimism are far ahead of the global average of 22%. Four out of five businesses say they expect their sales to grow next year, and more than a third – the high-growth companies – expect growth of 15% or more, well ahead of business outlook in Europe (18%) and APAC (19%).

Companies feel bolstered by their access to new technologies, high-quality suppliers and raw materials, and their ability to bring new products and services to market. Of course, not all businesses are confident. The top concerns for those who expect sales to shrink next year are increasing competition, tariffs and rising barriers to entering new markets. 

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
Expect sales to shrink – Next year
Stay the same – Next year

Next five years

Expect sales to grow* 86%
Grow by 15% or more 41%
Grow by 6-14% 31%
Grow by 5% or less 14%
Expect sales to shrink 9%
Stay the same 4%

What you need to know

  1. 1

    67% of US businesses are more optimistic about growth than a year ago – well ahead of the global average (47%).

  2. 2

    Of the nearly one in seven firms that expect sales to shrink, all of them expect this to be due to factors beyond their control.

  3. 3

    Growth will come mainly from new markets, investment in new technologies and introducing new products or services.

What your business can do

  • Invest in innovation to get ahead of the competition. 30% of companies say this is their strategy.

  • Look to new markets for expansion. Although traditional markets are steady, 24% of businesses are looking further afield.

  • Invest in employee skills to improve productivity, competitiveness and business sustainability. 24% of US businesses say this is one of their top three priorities.