Defence trends 2020: Investing in a digital future

Defence contractors must prepare to disrupt themselves, or risk being disrupted

Disruption has arrived in the defence industry

Digitalisation, demand for faster R&D, emerging technologies, 5G, AI, cyber and biowarfare threats are upending conventional models.

Although defence spending worldwide remains strong, the issue shadowing nearly every industry as we write is COVID-19. The full economic impact of this global health emergency is not yet known, but defence firms should monitor their supply chains for resilience and ensure cooperation and engagement among territories.

Despite significant uncertainty in the coming months, there is also significant opportunity for those defence companies that take action now.

Explore the global report

What a difference two years can make. In 2018, PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey revealed a record level of optimism regarding worldwide economic growth. This year, as CEOs look ahead to 2020, we see a record level of pessimism. For the first time, more than half of the CEOs we surveyed believe the rate of global GDP growth will decline. This caution has translated into CEOs’ low confidence in their own organisation’s outlook. Only 27% of CEOs are ‘very confident’ in their prospects for revenue growth in 2020, a low level not seen since 2009.

What is clouding the view from the top? In a word, uncertainty. Conducted in September and October of 2019 (before the global outbreak of COVID-19), PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, which involved 1,581 chief executives in 83 territories, explores the sources and manifestations of uncertainty and how CEOs are taking action to address it.

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23rd Annual CEO Survey report cover