Indian businesses lead global optimism, with 72% expecting a surge in B2B spending* in 2023, outpacing global average of 49%. The surge in B2B spending in India is fueled by technology investments leading the way with 88% of businesses planning to spend more on it in the rest of 2023 compared to the first half of the year. These findings were revealed in Trendex: B2B edition, a survey commissioned by American Express with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
*B2B spend category
Share spending more 2023
Capital investments & operating expenditure
Advertising, sales, marketing
Building, construction, maintenance or installation
Raw and processed materials
Taxes or licensing
Travel, entertainment and expenses
Business and professional services
Total B2B spend
Another key driving factor for the surge in expected spending is business travel, as 72% of businesses are expecting to increase spend on travel, entertainment, and expenses. Business and professional services also seem to be a key consideration with 68% Indian businesses expecting to spend more on it for the rest of the year. An impressive 88% of businesses feel optimistic about the future success of their company for the year ahead, well above the global Trendex average of 77%.
Manish Kapoor, Vice President and Head, Global Commercial Services (GCS), American Express Banking Corp., India said, “Its noteworthy that a substantial 84% of Indian businesses have taken steps to partially automate payments to their suppliers, with an impressive 39% achieving full automation of their payment processes. As the business landscape becomes increasingly competitive, the need to adopt smarter and more efficient payment solutions becomes paramount. For example, corporate cards, with their offering of extended payment terms, rewards on B2B expenditures, and seamless payment convenience, can make their spends more rewarding and efficient, effectively earning as they spend.”
The survey further reveals that an overwhelming 92% of Indian businesses consider improving security around payments as a top priority. A large share of Indian businesses (90%) also agrees that managing cash flow and working capital has gained greater significance over the past year. Automation in payments is rising with 84% of Indian businesses having at least partially automated payments to suppliers, while 39% have fully automated their payment processes.
Business Spend Priorities
Technology takes the lead
When it comes to spending priorities, technology emerges as the top category, with 88% of businesses planning to allocate more funds to technological advancements.
Among the reasons driving this trend are the desire to improve payment speed and effectiveness (71%), enhance productivity (69%), and cater to customer demands for more digital products (63%).
Advertising & Marketing
79% of businesses are eager to increase their investments in advertising & marketing to explore new marketing channels (69%), target international markets (58%), and promote new products and services (58%).
Travel, entertainment, and expenses
Of the 72% of businesses expecting to increase spend on travel, entertainment, and expenses, a top reason is businesses attending more industry events (68%) to network, gain industry insights, and explore potential partnerships.
Moreover, businesses are increasing the amount of domestic business travel (63%) and international business travel (60%) to expand their reach, establish global connections, and seize new opportunities.
Business and professional services
The most selected reason for higher business and professional services spending expectations is that companies are anticipating increased spending on IT and technology consultancy services (61%) to leverage technological advancements effectively.
Many respondents are seeking increased accountancy/financial advice (59%) to navigate financial challenges and potential restructuring. 67% of the businesses spending more on business and professional services say that this is due to a rise in IT and technology consultancy, the top sub-category.
Automation in Payments
The survey shows that 84% of Indian businesses have at least partially automated payments to suppliers, while 39% have fully automated their payment processes.
Of those businesses that said that their payment processes were mostly or fully automated, 58% say that they have seen faster and more accurate invoicing. Furthermore, 54% reported it has reduced human error.
86% of Indian businesses say that they either plan to start automating or increase the level of automation for receiving payments from customers. Furthermore, 83% intend to increase their current level of automation of payments made to suppliers.
For Indian businesses which haven’t automated all of their payments, 34% said they are seeking a partner to help them automate the business payments processes.
Trendex: B2B edition, commissioned by American Express with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) was run by Opinium research. The sample for this year’s survey included 513 senior decision makers in India with responsibility over at least three categories of expenditure. The businesses surveyed across sectors and industries included sole enterprises, micro businesses, small and medium businesses as well as large businesses.
For further information about CEBR please visit www.cebr.com.