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CEO Poll Finds Increasing Number Of U.S. Companies Still Growing, But That Could Slow

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Just-released survey data from Chief Executive’s annual Financial Benchmarks Report shows revenue gains at more U.S. companies in 2022 than in recent years. Expect the trend to continue, CEOs say.

Layoffs, a hawkish Fed, stubborn inflation and the incessant talk of a recession would have anyone thinking times are bad for business.

But just-released data from Chief Executive’s 2023 edition of the annual Financial Benchmarks Report for U.S. Companies shows three-quarters of companies reported a positive annual net revenue growth rate in 2022, with 42% reporting an increase of at least 10% from prior year.

After a pandemic-driven dip in the proportion of companies posting positive revenue growth in 2020 and 2021 (69% and 67% respectively, down from 73% in 2019), things rebounded in 2022, with 73% of U.S. companies achieving growth that year, according to the report.

That trend should continue, CEOs we polled say, despite a potential recession and financial sector uncertainty, with 75% of companies projecting positive net revenue growth this year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

As the Fed knows, curbing demand in the U.S. hasn’t been easy. In survey after survey, CEOs report strong demand driving their company’s net revenue and supporting healthy bottom lines. In our April CEO Confidence Index survey, 55% said they still expected demand to continue rising in the months ahead, further supporting revenue growth.

A Tapering?

What the data does show changing is the speed of the growth. In 2021, 21% of U.S. companies reported revenue growth of at least 20% from prior year, which is unsurprising considering the spending halt caused by the pandemic of 2020.

The climb continued into 2022, with the proportion of companies posting 20%+ growth jumping to 24%.

For 2023, though, things seem to be tapering off. While a growing number of companies expect revenues to grow, only 16% expect their revenue to grow by as large of a margin as it did last year. Now, some 40% expect their revenue growth rate to be less than 10% for the year.

This is also contingent on sector, as one would expect. Nearly all (93%) Energy companies reported positive revenue growth in 2022—the largest proportion across sectors, followed by Tech (86%) and Real Estate (80%). In contrast, 58% of Entertainment & Travel companies reported growth, with 42% saying their revenues were either flat or down for the year.

For the year ahead, 93% of Energy companies and 86% of Tech companies expect positive revenue growth again this year, with 40% and 42% respectively expecting it to remain strong at 20%+ compared to prior year. In contrast, only 3% of Healthcare Services companies expect that level of growth—and only 62% expect growth at all.

Many other factors, such as pricing strategies and price increases, as well as company size, played a role in the outcome. You can find more information and additional breakdowns in Chief Executive’s 2023 Report, which offers you key benchmarks updates throughout the year—from revenue and pricing to working capital to profitability to employees staffing and turnover, and so much more.

Check out the full report>> 


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