In October, EFB launched the seventh edition of the European Family Business Barometer in partnership with KPMG

The 7th edition of the Barometer, which received more than 1500 contributions from family companies across all the continent, underlines how family businesses, despite facing political uncertainty, increased competition, and technological disruption, are still growing and are positive about their future.

The key highlights of this survey are:

  • 73% of respondents are confident about the future of their companies, while 19.5% are neutral and only 6.04% have a negative outlook;
  • While overall confidence is up in Europe, the UK was an exception with a clear drop in confidence (from 83% in 2017 to 68% this year) with Brexit being a likely cause; 
  • 64% of the respondents indicated an increase in turnover over the past 12 months, while only 11% reported a reduction.
  • The top priorities for the next two-year period are improving profitability (49%), increasing turnover (38%) and attracting new talent (27%).
  • 53% of respondents reported the war for talent as being their biggest concern, while it was 43% in 2017 and 37% in 2016. The other main challenges are political uncertainty (36%) and increased the cost of labour (36%).
  • International expansion has taken a backseat: only 36% of respondents increased their activities over the past year, while it was 44% in 2017 and 65% in 2016.

 Family businesses provide an important perspective on the overall health of the economy and optimism in Europe. Although they are not monolithic entities with the same worldview, they can be used as a barometer for things to come. When they anticipate difficult times ahead, they take precautions to reduce their risk, as can be seen in the slower plans for international expansion. On the other hand, their investment in technology and innovation show an overarching optimism for their plans as the economy changes.