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Consumer-facing companies focus on digital foundation as election recedes

In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, PwC surveyed business leaders from a variety of sectors, part of our ongoing PwC US Pulse Survey conducted on a periodic basis to track the changing sentiment and priorities of business executives. This is what leaders from consumer-facing companies told us.

Leaders at consumer-facing companies are planning to double down on digital strategy in the year ahead, as they’ve done since the beginning of the pandemic: They are more likely than executives in all other sectors (47% vs 38%) to commit to a “large increase” in digital investment in 2021.

Aware that end-to-end digital transformation is essential in a pandemic-altered world, consumer markets (CM) leaders are taking the necessary steps. As shoppers combine the most convenient online and in-store options, retailers are consolidating physical and digital operations for seamless customer service.

Consumer packaged goods companies are finding new ways to engage customers directly with a combination of personalized offerings and accurate demand forecasting. And travel, transportation and hospitality companies are deploying analytics to unveil new self-serve options and shore up for the long term.

As with other sectors, 86% of CM leaders would like to see federal economic relief in the coming months, without which they are more likely than other sectors to offer hazard pay for on-site workers (63% vs 48%). CM leaders are understandably concerned about a new wave of COVID-19 infections triggering further shutdowns. And they’re also more concerned than all sectors about the effect of the current business environment on their workforce (39% vs 31%).

In a divided post-election landscape, 51% of CM leaders will create new opportunities for conversations about social issues while 57% will increase diversity and inclusion training. Despite a majority view (69%) that policy and regulatory shifts will be the most pressing post-election business risk, CM leaders are nevertheless looking ahead to growth in 2021, more so than other sectors.

In addition to digital transformation, which 77% cited, they are also directing resources toward the workforce (65% vs 58% of executives in all sectors), domestic expansion (65% vs 59%), supply chains (63% vs 54%) and M&A (60% vs 53%). In the year ahead, they will lay the foundation for long-term success: reconfiguring business models, reinventing the customer purchase journey and rethinking strategies to engage consumers.

Contact us

Barbra Bukovac

Vice Chair, Consumer Markets, PwC US

Edward Landry

Principal, Global Customer Strategy Leader, PwC US

Alberto Dent

Partner, Consumer Markets Valuation Leader, PwC US

Katrina Carrizales

Cyber & Privacy Partner, PwC US

Ron Kinghorn

ESG Consulting Solutions Leader, PwC US

Julie Bogas

US Advisory, ESG Consulting Partner, PwC US

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