Businesses cite rising energy costs as greatest threat

Almost half of global business leaders consider energy price increases as their biggest challenge this year, according to a survey conducted by Dun and Bradstreet amongst 3,396 business in 18 countries.

Weakening customer demand, cyber security, increased taxation and access to talent were cited as the subsequent major challenges for 2023.

Energy price concerns appear to be felt most strongly in Europe – particularly in Poland, where 60% seeing this as their biggest challenge; while in the US, this datapoint dropped sharply to a quarter – likely because of the country’s reliance on its own energy supply.

By comparison, the overall increases to the cost of doing business is expected to have an acute impact on more than a third of businesses surveyed in 2023, as the world continues to recoup economic losses following the pandemic.

Although the survey found that 27% of leaders rate their business’ resilience during turbulent times as "extremely resilient”, given the ongoing economic uncertainty, it is imperative for more businesses to develop a higher level of resilience to remain competitive and position themselves for growth and innovation. With that in mind, the report's authors voiced their concern in response to the findings that 85% of businesses currently do not use data to understand disruption in their ecosystem.

Rikard Candell, vice-president of data science at Dun and Bradstreet said: “In today's market, uncertainties abound and these are having a simultaneous and substantial impact on the business environment. Companies are facing a host of challenges, including persistently high inflation, continued monetary policy tightening and high interest rates, increased energy costs and the lingering effects of the pandemic, as well as war and geopolitical instability. With so many market issues weighing on their minds, business leaders find it exceedingly difficult to predict what comes next and decision-making has become correspondingly more challenging.

“Having ready access to data insights is crucial to help businesses navigate the uncertain landscape. It is concerning to note, however, that a significant percentage of businesses are not currently harnessing data in this way.”

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