• 72 percent focus on the training and further education of their employees.
  • 35 percent are striving for growth in Europe.

These figures emerge from this year's "European Family Business Barometer" study conducted by KPMG and European Family Businesses (EFB). Around 1,600 family businesses across Europe were surveyed about current challenges and their goals.

60 percent of family businesses in Austria report that their turnover has risen in the past twelve months (Europe: 59 percent). One third of Austrian companies (30 per cent) have maintained a constant turnover (Europe: 28 per cent). The topic of diversification is becoming more and more important: 67 percent of Austrian companies (Europe: 50 percent) say that diversification through new products and services is extremely important or very important for success in the next two years and 13 percent (Europe: 12 percent) plan to expand their range of services in the coming year. "Family businesses want to diversify more into other areas in order to strengthen their competitiveness. This is supported by ever faster changing customer needs," says KPMG partner Yann Georg Hansa. In contrast, 27 percent of family businesses in Europe and Austria intend to continue investing in their core business.

Future prospects

Further investment projects are on the agenda: A quarter (25 percent) of European and Austrian family businesses will invest in innovations and new technologies over the next twelve months. Data & Analytics (20 percent), networked supply chains (19 percent) and industry 4.0 (17 percent) are cited as the most important areas in Austria.

In the course of this, one third (35 percent) of Austrian companies intend to grow in Europe and about one fifth (22 percent) in Asia. 14 percent of the companies plan to focus on investing in internationalisation next year. In addition, 26 percent have set themselves the goal of growing geographically over the next two years.

Innovation remains the priority

A common goal of European and Austrian family businesses is the pursuit of innovation. 74 percent of Austrian companies (Europe: 72 percent) want to become more innovative in the next two years.

In this context, family businesses are committed to ensuring that their employees are equipped with the necessary skills required for digitisation on the market. 72 percent of those surveyed in Austria state that the training and further education of their employees will gain in importance in the next two years. In Europe, the figure is 64 percent. KPMG partner Peter Humer explains this result as follows: "Family businesses send out a clear signal for long-term growth and success. This willingness to adapt to constant change has led many companies to be successful in the market for decades or even centuries.

From senior to junior

The question of succession remains one of the most important topics: 84 percent of all European family businesses have a family member as CEO, whereas in Austria this is the case for only 51 percent of the companies. 40 percent of domestic companies assume that the next CEO will be a family member, while 62 percent across Europe believe this. 39 percent of Austrian entrepreneurs want to keep the company in the family (Europe: 35 percent), 32 percent plan to hand over the management to the successor (Europe: 33 percent) and 20 percent plan to take over the strategic management (Europe: 27 percent).


Further results of Austrian family businesses at a glance:

  • 67 percent state that cyber security is extremely relevant or very relevant.
  • For 65 percent, sustainability is essential for their corporate strategy.
  • 53 percent have increased their headcount
  • 81 percent of companies do not see capital markets as a financing option.


European Family Business Barometer 2019

The European Family Business Barometer examines current trends in family businesses on an annual basis and is conducted jointly by European Family Businesses (EFB) and KPMG. The European Family Business Barometer is based on the results of an online survey. A total of 1,613 family businesses in 27 countries were surveyed between 13 May and 19 July 2019.

This year's study was supported by the SPRING team (EU-funded project, Erasmus+ KA2 Knowledge Alliances, www.euspring.eu).


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