Key Findings from the Study:
- U.S. ECONOMY REMAINS CHALLENGED: Respondents indicated there were several factors still weighing on the recovery of the U.S. economy, including an uncertain political climate (55%), uncertainty in tax rates (45%) and an uncertain regulatory climate (38%).
- RECOVERY STILL MONTHS AWAY: Nearly 61% of survey participants expect the financial crisis to bottom in 2013 (40%) or 2014 (21%). In the 2011 survey, 57% expected the financial crisis to reach bottom either in 2011 (11%) or in 2012 (46%).
- GROWTH IS THE GOAL: Survey participants are undertaking an array of initiatives intended to preserve margins and spur growth. The most frequently implemented steps include expanding product selection (45%) and implementing/improving customer loyalty programs (42%). Over a third (37%) said they will invest in their business in the coming year – with 6% indicating significant new investment .
- INTEREST IN SOCIAL MEDIA AND MOBILE MARKETING: Respondents are pursuing innovation, such as the implementation of new technologies to control/reduce costs (39%) or expanding the use of social media, with 51% saying they are either very active (21%) or active (30%) in the space. Among those active in social media, 94% say they are undertaking social media campaigns and 31% are offering discounts (e.g., Groupon). Forty-three percent of respondents say they are very active (15%) or active (28%) in mobile marketing ― 63% have created mobile applications featuring their company’s products or services and 47% have implemented texting campaigns.
- PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS WILL LIKELY SPUR CONTINUED CAUTION: Pre-election, 60% of executives said their businesses would be significantly impacted by the outcome of the presidential election, with 22% gauging the impact as very significant. Issues impacting businesses include the cost of healthcare, tax rates, energy development costs and the general regulatory climate, all of which play a profound role in the economy at large.
- TAXES A TOP CONCERN FOR RETAIL EXECUTIVES: Seventy-one percent of respondents said they would favor a change in tax policy, substituting lower tax rates for the current system of detailed tax write-offs. Lower tax rates with fewer write-offs, the survey shows, would in turn spur companies to increase hiring, as well as to invest in new product development and new manufacturing.
About Forbes InsightsForbes Insights is the strategic research practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and Forbes.com, whose combined media properties reach nearly 50 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights’ research covers a wide range of vital business issues, including talent management, corporate social responsibility, financial benchmarking, risk and regulation, and doing business in emerging markets. forbes.com/insights About CIT Founded in 1908, CIT (NYSE: CIT) is a bank holding company with more than $33 billion in finance and leasing assets. A member of the Fortune 500, it provides financing and leasing capital to its small business and middle market clients and their customers across more than 30 industries. CIT maintains leadership positions in small business and middle market lending, factoring, retail finance, aerospace, equipment and rail leasing, and global vendor finance. CIT also operates CIT Bank (Member FDIC), BankOnCIT.com, its primary bank subsidiary, which offers a suite of savings options designed to help customers achieve a range of financial goals. cit.com Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50477256&lang=en