Corporate confidence in Europe under the microscope

The latest Cushman & Wakefield Occupier Conference in London revealed new research, the Insight 500 survey, emphasising the negative impact global economic uncertainty was having on corporate confidence and decision making.  However, the conference was also warned by broadcaster Rene Carayol not to get too downhearted by overly negative media coverage. What is more, it was also notable from the Insight survey that people were much more negative about the wider economy than they were about their own business sector – with legal and life sciences the most optimistic.

Source: Cushman & Wakefield, Insight 500 Survey, 2011

Clearly it’s dangerous to just extrapolate wider economic woes across all industries. There are sectors and businesses which are more optimistic– if largely focused on opportunistic growth.

There is also a balance between those looking to increase revenues and market share and those looking at cost savings – with the former, interestingly,  more likely to be a retail or industrial company according to the Insight survey and the latter more typically an office based business.

In the short-term, a majority in the survey said they would be focussed on making the best use of the space they already had and avoiding increases to their fixed cost base. Looking forward, flexibility and future-proofing are key. However while 70% want to introduce more flexible working, 66% are also ready to target new markets, whether in Asia or closer to home. Moscow for example was picked as the top location for expansion in our recent European Cities Monitor.

In short there will be winners and losers in business and while only some property markets need to be ready to cope with increased total demand, all areas need to be ready to cater for increased demand for more efficient and more productive space.

David Hutchings, European Research Group, London

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