Consumer Products and Services Executives Identify Pandemic Policies, Market Conditions and Talent Shortage Among Top Risk Issues for 2021 and Beyond

Carol Raimo, Managing Director Consumer Products and Services Industry Practice Leader

The results of the 2021 Top Risks Survey from Protiviti and NC State University’s ERM Initiative reflect equally the unprecedented challenges and opportunities facing the consumer products and services (CP&S) industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, the results show many CP&S executives are worried about a mix of macroeconomic, strategic and operational risks impacting their businesses in the next 12 months. Beyond that, the leaders are also looking at ways to grapple with the impact of digital technologies, talent shortage and changing customer demand over the next 10 years.

Topping their 2021 concerns, CP&S executives identified additional government policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a deterioration in market and economic conditions, talent retention and acquisition challenges, as well as internal resistance to cultural changes that may restrict their ability to adjust business models and core operations.

While many companies in the retail and consumer packaged goods sectors experienced record revenue growth due to the pandemic (such as pharmacies, grocery stores, household products, food & beverage providers), many brick-and-mortar retailers (e.g., apparel and department stores) have seen their businesses flounder. In the retail space specifically, there is growing worry about the potential for cyber threats as more retailers move online to accommodate a surge in e-commerce. Executives in the consumer packaged goods space noted their concern over supply chain disruptions and other third-party risks arising from reliance on outsourcing. Airline respondents singled out succession challenges and the ability to attract and retain top talent among their top concerns. Overall, the hospitality, leisure and travel sectors, even with COVID-19 cases plummeting and vaccinations ramping up, remain uneasy about the impact of further lockdown and social distancing measures on their businesses.

Top risks for 2021 and 2030 are detailed in this recently published paper. Visit here to read insights for the consumer products, retail, hospitality and airline industries and access the full results of the survey.

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