Export: Belgian companies are holding their own against COVID-19
62% of Belgian companies continue to be optimistic about the potential for growth and the economic outlook in the United States: this was the conclusion of a survey conducted with 50 Belgian companies located on the American continent. The ITC, health care and pharmaceuticals sectors even revised their goals upwards following increased interest in their products and services. Some figures.
At first glance, the impact of COVID-19 appears to be same for Belgian companies in the United States as for those that have remained on the old continent: 42% of companies saw their revenue decline by more than 25% (21% experienced a drop of over 50%).
Belgian companies in the United States stated that sales and human resources management would be their major challenges in the coming months because of the requirement to work remotely, border closures, difficulties in obtaining visas and the uncertain global economic environment.
There are many practical obstacles: inability to travel or attend conferences, slower commercial decision-making, recruiting difficulties, etc.
Overall, the impact of the health crisis has been felt the most in sales (70% of respondents), customer request follow-up (52%) and staff morale (47%).
The ITC and health care sectors have been spared
Yet, some sectors appear to have been spared this fate. Half of all ITC and health care companies based in the USA saw their revenue increase during the pandemic and expect the trend to continue. 18% of them have even revised their goals upwards following increased interest in their products and services.
Although consulting and services companies have suffered negative effects in the short term, they also believe in a long-term rebound.
Questioned about the long-term effects of COVID-19 on their commercial outlook in the United States, respondents (in particular small companies with up to 10 employees) remain optimistic about future growth opportunities.
Support from regional representation offices for 85% of companies
What’s behind the optimism? There are three main arguments:
- the transition to online sales
- the digital commitment of customers
- support from the competent authorities
The results reveal that about 85% of companies received support from the Consulate General of Belgium in New York, local representative offices Flanders Investment & Trade, AWEX, hub.brussels in New York and/or the Belgo-American Chamber of Commerce BelCham before or during the pandemic. It consisted in:
- contacts and networking opportunities
- office space (BelCham Atelier)
- legal and administrative advice
- financial aide
“We’ve helped hundreds of Belgian entrepreneurs make their dream come true in the United States. We will continue, together with the Consulate and the Regions, to act in partnership with Belgian companies and will help them develop future opportunities”, said Valerie Van den Keybus, Managing Director of BelCham.
A unique joint survey
The Covid19 Pulse survey of Belgian companies in the United States was a unique initiative given the diversity of its stakeholders. Carried out during the summer 2020 by the Boston Consulting Group (NYC), it was requested by:
- The Consulate General of Belgium in New York
- Flanders Investment & Trade
The questionnaire was asked of a sampling of 50 respondents from different regions and sectors.
- Over half of the respondents are small companies (1 to 10 employees)
- 42% were created in the United States over the past three years
- Just over half of the people surveyed have their parent company in Flanders, 26% in Brussels and 22% in Wallonia
The respondents are active in a diverse range of industries but mainly provide services and products to large companies.
Do you want to export to the United States? Contact our Economic and Commercial Attachés on location!
Eric Gabrys (BRU)Economic and commercial attaché | United States (San Francisco - Silicon Valley)
+ 1 415 291 01 30
155 Montgomery Street
SAN FRANCISCO CA 94104
Kathlijn Fruithof (BRU)Economic and commercial attaché | United States (New-York + Bahamas)
T. +1 212-399-8522 +1 646 745-0346
885 Second Avenue, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10017 USA
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