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KPMG survey: Retail CEOs feel confident; supply chain risk is biggest concern

The leaders of retail and consumer companies are feeling positive about business prospects during the next three years, but are worried about supply chain challenges.
Ninety-two percent of respondents in KPMG’s annual survey of the CEOs of consumer and retail companies said they are confident or very confident regarding the sector’s growth prospects in the next three years. And 73% said their business’ return to normal will rely on the encouragement of governments in key markets to lift COVID-19 restrictions. (The vast majority of the CEOs were from major organizations with revenue of $1 billion or more.)

Supply chain risk was identified as the top risk to their companies’ growth over the next three years, according to 43% of consumer and retail CEOs. The results were revealed as a huge container ship remains stuck in the Suez Canada, putting more strain on a supply chain already stressed by the pandemic. 

“The challenges in the supply chain are numerous from demand predictability, production capacity constraints, port delays, carton and driver shortages, as well as higher input and transportation costs,” said Matt Kramer, KPMG’s national sector leader for consumer and retail. “Ensuring products are efficiently delivered through the supply chain to customers with greater transparency will be both a challenge and significant focus in 2021.” 

In other results, 55% said that the pandemic accelerated the creation of a seamless digital customer experience in a matter of months, while 38% said that progress sharply accelerated, putting them years in advance of where they expected to be.

Other findings of the consumer and retail CEOs are below.

• Ninety-three percent said that employees will be asked to inform the company when they are vaccinated.

• Ninety-percent want to lock in the sustainability and climate change gains that they have made as a result of the pandemic.

• Sixty-eight percent said that in a matter of months the pandemic accelerated the creation of new digital business models and revenue streams; another 17% said progress accelerated sharply, putting them years in advance of where they expected to be.

• Sixty-five percent said that their customer engagement and queries will be done predominantly via virtual platforms - e.g. chatbots, social media, telephone or the website in the long term.

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