Global business growth is on the rise despite challenges, finds Epicor

Globally, manufacturing business growth has increased by 3.7 per cent (to 103.7 index points) despite the fact that half of manufacturers admit they have grown under challenging circumstances. This is one of the key findings of the annual Global Growth Index, launched by Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth.

The Growth Index is designed to measure the state of business growth worldwide, by tracking the performance of manufacturing businesses in 14 territories. Taking last year’s results as a base figure (100), it has found that business growth across the globe has increased by 3.7 index points in the last 12 months, awarding the state of business growth with a score of 103.7.

Contributing to this score is a significant growth in the number of manufacturers reporting strong sales/turnover in the last 12 months—up 5 percent from last year to 70 percent overall. A similar trend was observed with profits and product ranges, with a 4 percent boost in the number of businesses growing in each of these areas compared to last year.
Comparing Australian business performance

Looking at Australia, the index shows mixed performance with improvement in some business areas yet a decline in others. Business profits increased from 53 percent last year to an impressive 68 percent this year, product range expanded from 54 percent to 58 percent, and workforce increased from 45 percent to 48 percent.

Growth metricAustralian average (%) 2017Australian average (%) 2018
Sales/turnover growth64%62%
Product range growth54%58%
Profit growth53%68%
Exports/overseas sales growth50%43%
Workforce growth45%48%
Geographic coverage growth53%43%

Figure 1. Percentage of Australian businesses reporting growth—2018 and 2017 comparison 

Global Growth Index figures

The table below illustrates the Global Growth Index results for 2018, compared to 2017. Percentages illustrate the median average number of businesses that have reported growth in each of the key growth metric areas. For more detailed statistics and to compare the results of different countries, please see the Global Growth Index infographic.

Growth metricGlobal average (%) 2017Global average (%) 2018
Sales/ turnover growth65%70%
Product range growth61%64%
Profit growth64%67%
Exports/ overseas sales growth49%51%
Workforce growth48%48%
Geographic coverage growth49%51%

Figure 2. Percentage of businesses reporting growth – 2018 and 2017 comparison (median averages)

Despite this worldwide increase in business growth performance, almost half (45%) of businesses also admitted that the growth they had experienced in the last 12 months had been challenging and one in four (23%) said it had been stressful. However, half (46%) of businesses globally also agree that investing in new/better technology is a strategy that will help them overcome their growing pains.

“Although we have seen impressive overall rates of growth this year, there’s an underlying consensus among the businesses we surveyed, that growth hasn’t been easy to achieve,” said Scott Hays, senior vice president, product marketing, for Epicor.

“Nevertheless, businesses in the manufacturing sector have also affirmed that investing in the right technology will help position themselves for growth in the future. With automated systems reaching production lines around the world, cloud adoption continuing to rise, and enterprise resourcing planning (ERP) solutions transforming the way businesses manage workflows and share their data, this is a sentiment that we will track year-on-year,” he concluded.

The Global Growth Index research will be updated by Epicor on a yearly basis. For more information about the global trends and the methodology, please view the online infographic.