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Companies Pursue Cross Sector Growth As Digital Technologies Dissolve Traditional Industry Boundaries, Accenture Research Finds

As the global economy continues to recover, a majority of companies intend to pursue growth opportunities outside their own industry sectors as digital technologies help create new higher growth markets, according to new research by Accenture (NYSE:ACN). The research also shows that most top executives believe the ability of new digital technologies to dissolve industry boundaries is the most important structural shift businesses will face over the next five years.

The report, “ Remaking Customer Markets: Unlocking Growth with Digital,” includes a survey of 500 C- level executives in 10 countries, which reveals that while 64 percent say their companies will continue to focus on growth within their current industry, 60 percent plan to pursue growth in, or in collaboration with, other industries in the next five years. The report examines six ‘digitally contestable markets’ in which established and new players from multiple sectors are using digital technology to reshape traditional industries and create higher rates of growth: Healthcare, education, financial services, manufacturing, retail and transportation. Among the findings:

  • While the core healthcare sector in the United States is expected to grow at 2.5 percent annually between 2012 and 2018, the impact of digital technology (e.g. remote diagnostics, electronic records management) will help drive annual growth of 3.3 percent in the broader market for staying healthy.
  • The UK’s core financial services sector is projected to grow at 2.0 percent per year between 2012 and 2018, but the wider digitally contested ‘paying’ market will experience annual growth of 2.9 percent, thanks to digitally enabled trends such as crowd funding, peer-to-peer lending services and virtual wallet applications.
  • Germany’s retail sector is expected to grow 1.6 percent annually between 2012 and 2018, but the wider digitally contestable ‘shopping’ market will enjoy growth of 2.6 percent per year, due to trends such as real-time pricing, e-commerce platforms that enable consumers to become retailers and online sharing and bartering services.

According to the report, the aggregate value of three digitally contestable markets in 2018, alone – shopping, paying and staying healthy – will be US$5.9 trillion to the U.S. economy, €747 billion to the German economy and GBP£519 billion to the economy of the UK.

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