2020 KPMG CEO Outlook: Consumer & Retail

Consumer & Retail CEOs take on the challenge of managing the new reality

Matt Kramer

Matt Kramer

National Sector Leader, Consumer & Retail, KPMG LLP

+1 614-241-4666

Scott Rankin

Scott Rankin

US Strategy Service Line Leader, Deal Advisory & Strategy, KPMG LLP

+1 617-988-1474

Explore key insights for Consumer & Retail companies 

KPMG asked 315 CEOs at large companies globally across all industries what they saw as the business landscape and impact from COVID-19 over the next three years. Although 76% of Consumer & Retail CEOs were confident in their industry's growth prospects, they do recognize the obvious threats to progress. Thirty-one percent stated that threats to the supply chain were their greatest risk concern.

Infographic | KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook: Consumer & Retail
Key findings from the survey, which finds many Consumer & Retail CEOs remaining confident in the midst of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has impacted every sector of business, including significant changes for Consumer & Retail. Based on our recent survey we see that industry CEOs are cautiously optimistic for long-term growth. Over the next three years 41% see the potential for 2.49% annual year-over-year growth. Those that are leading the charge are focused on the creation of new digital business models and revenue streams enabling a convenient, safe, and seamless customer experience.
Scott Rankin, Consumer & Retail Advisory Industry Leader, KPMG US

The economy and growth



Seventy-six percent of survey respondents from the Consumer & Retail sector are “more confident” in the growth prospects of the domestic economy and their company (76%) compared with the beginning of the year, while 45% said they were “more confident” in the growth prospects of the global economy.



Low to moderate revenue growth is expected



Greatest threats to growth aside from global health



Consumer & Retail CEOs are going digital to to position their businesses for long-term growth and prosperity.

Having a digital strategy for growth is no longer an option. From our survey over 72% say the pandemic has accelerated the creation of a seamless digital customer experience and 52% say it has also accelerated the creation of new digital business models and revenue streams. Sixty-nine percent will place more capital investment in buying new technology and digitization, due to prioritization created in our new reality.

Technology challenges and impact of the pandemic on digital strategy


have accelerated the creation of a seamless digital customer experience


will place more capital investment in buying new technology and digitization


have accelerated the creation of new digital business models and revenue streams


have difficulty making quick technology decisions


have challenges in moving from pilots to scaled deployments


CEOs are doubling down on long-term transformation priorities to build the dynamic capabilities needed to succeed in the future.

With the pandemic transforming the world of work, 65% say they will continue to build on their current use of digital collaboration and communication tools, and 55% believe that remote working has widened their available talent pool. 

While remote work is widening the talent pool, it’s also causing many companies to make significant changes to their policies—including how leaders communicate with employees and re-evaluate their operational models to provide agility and responsiveness in virtual delivery.
Robin Rasmussen, Principal, Human Capital Advisory, KPMG US

The changing working world


will be downsizing office space



will build on use of digital collaboration and communication tools



agree that working remotely has widened their potential talent pool



want to become more agile in response to changing customers needs



Risk comes in many forms, and for the consumer and retail sector supply chain is at the top of the list. 

While supply chain, at 31% is the greatest risk for CEOs, emerging and disruptive technology, as well as return to territorialism pose an equally threatening concern at 21% each. CEOs rated talent risk at 14% stating the need to keep their people connected, engaged, and productive as a concern, a small percentage of 3% believe that cyber security poses a serious threat to their companies longevity and survival.

As companies rush to meet the challenges of supply and demand in our new reality, we’re seeing many migrating key parts of their supply chains to different geographies. In doing so, they may accelerate supplier onboarding and inadvertently incur new third-party risks.
Marc Miller, Partner, Risk & Compliance Leader, KPMG US

Risk challenges




In a time of great uncertainty, Consumer & Retail CEOs are having to make important decisions with long-term consequences. KPMG can help you redefine your consumer approach. To learn how KPMG can help your business, please contact Mark Schmeling.