Indian businesses are at the forefront of global optimism, with a remarkable 72 per cent expecting a substantial surge in Business-to-Business (B2B) spending in 2023, a survey commissioned by American Express with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has revealed.
This optimism outpaces the global average of 49 per cent, showcasing India’s economic potential and confidence in its future prospects.
Technology investments propel growth
The report indicates that 88 per cent of Indian businesses are preparing to increase their resources for technological developments in the second half of 2023, making technology investments the driving force behind this spending spree.
This technology-focused strategy is primarily driven by the need to increase productivity, satisfy the growing demand for digital products, and improve payment efficiency and speed.
Business travel and professional services on the rise
Interestingly, 72 per cent of Indian businesses foresee more travel, entertainment, and cost budgets, highlighting the critical role that business travel plays. In order to network, learn about the industry, and consider possible collaborations, firms are increasingly taking part in industry events.
To broaden their horizons, make contacts, and take advantage of fresh prospects, Indian businesses are also allocating larger resources for both local and international business travel.
68 per cent of Indian enterprises anticipate increasing their spending in business and professional services, underscoring the importance of these services. For the purpose of fully utilising technical breakthroughs, IT and technology consulting services account for 61 per cent of total investments. Even more, up to 59 per cent are looking for more accounting and financial guidance to deal with possible restructuring and other financial difficulties.
Additionally, 79 per cent of businesses seek to increase their marketing and advertising budgets to target international markets, promote new products and services, and pursue new marketing channels.
Optimism and automation in payments
Apart from their anticipated expenditure, Indian businesses are also hopeful about their organisations’ future performance in the upcoming year. Of them, 88 per cent are positive, which is higher than the global Trendex average of 77 per cent.
Manish Kapoor, Vice President and Head of Global Commercial Services (GCS) at American Express Banking Corp., India, highlighted the growing trend of payment automation among Indian businesses. He stated, “It’s noteworthy that a substantial 84 per cent of Indian businesses have taken steps to partially automate payments to their suppliers, with an impressive 39 per cent 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.”
92 per cent of Indian businesses said that enhancing payment security is their top priority, indicating a greater understanding of the significance of safe financial transactions. Additionally, during the previous year, 90 per cent of organisations acknowledged the growing importance of managing cash flow and working capital.
The Path Forward: Increased Automation
The poll also shows that payment automation is increasing, with 84 per cent of Indian businesses reporting at least partially automated supplier payments and 39 per cent reporting full automation. Companies that have embraced automation report 58 per cent faster and more accurate billing and 54 per cent fewer errors made by humans.
Future projections indicate that 86 per cent of Indian businesses want to start automation for the process of collecting payments from customers. 83 per cent want to increase the level of automation they now use for payments to suppliers while 34 per cent of those who have not yet automated their payments are actively looking for partners to help them streamline their payment procedures.