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Business Tracker Europe: Willkommen, Bienvenue!

Savanta’s Business Tracker is now available in France and Germany, equipped with real-time insights into the challenges faced by business owners and decision-makers across Europe.

Olly Warren Senior Director, EMEA 22 November 2023

We are excited to announce the launch of our highly anticipated Business Tracker in France and Germany. Each quarter, we survey 500* business owners and decision-makers across small, medium, and large enterprises, providing real-time insights into the challenges and current affairs they face.

To mark the tracker’s European inauguration, we wanted to share some of the most intriguing findings from the launch wave.

Challenging economic headwinds

In a year where global wholesale energy prices have surged to record levels and remain above recent historical norms, it comes as no surprise that 7 in 10 (72%) businesses in France and Germany report negative impacts from these rising costs.

Adding to this strain, historically high inflation rates have further burdened operations, with 8 in 10 French businesses and 7 in 10 German businesses feeling the adverse effects. While this issue clearly affects both markets, one possible explanation for the difference in impact lies in the distinct approaches of each country’s central banks regarding interest rate management and their economic strategies for tackling inflation.

Looking ahead, both energy prices and inflation rate challenges are expected to persist in the short term. An overwhelming majority of 9 in 10 businesses foresee difficulties arising from these factors, a sentiment shared across businesses of all sizes in both markets.

The Rise of AI: Opportunities and Challenges

Artificial intelligence (AI) is viewed as a game-changing technology by a significant proportion of French and German businesses, with 50% and 54% respectively embracing its potential. However, entrenched attitudes towards supporting businesses and employee protection lead to differing wider perspectives. Approximately 1 in 3 French businesses see AI as both a threat (32%) and an opportunity (31%), while German businesses lean more towards perceiving AI as an opportunity (36%) rather than a threat (17%).

Reflecting these differences, 6 in 10 German businesses (59%) have already integrated or are currently using AI within their operations. While the adoption rate among French businesses is lower at 47%, it remains noteworthy.

These divergent attitudes and adoption levels contribute to varied wider viewpoints on AI. German businesses are more inclined to seek guidance on maximising its potential (57% vs. 41% in France). Conversely, French businesses are more likely to advocate for AI regulation by governments (61% vs. 44% of German businesses).

Future trading prospects

3 in 4 (75%) of French businesses are confident their business will still be operating / trading in the next 12 months, which rises to 83% amongst their German counterparts.

While this majority demonstrates a positive outlook despite the current challenging economic outlook, it’s important not to overlook the significant quarter of French businesses that lack such confidence.

Dependent on how you view the current economic challenges and the potential opportunities and challenges from AI, this can represent either a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty outlook on their future.

What we do know is that Savanta will continue to monitor French and German businesses attitudes to the above core challenges and wider business themes via our quarterly French and German business tracker – which will next run in January 2024.

For more information on Savanta’s Business Tracker and how you can access all this data and much more alongside utilising it for your bespoke research needs, click here.

*Each market includes responses from owners or senior decision makers amongst 500 businesses, 350 amongst small businesses (up to 249 employees) and 150 amongst medium & large businesses (250 or more employees).

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