CSA Research Business Confidence Survey: CEOs of LSPs Project a Strong 2018
In January 2018, CSA Research reported on the business outlook on 2017 and early 2018 based on a survey of 85 CEOs of the language service providers in our list of top 100 providers. In August and September 2018, we surveyed respondents on their mid-year results and their predictions for the rest of the year.
This latest installment of the CSA Research Business Confidence Survey aggregates the responses of 52 CEOs of the top 100 LSPs. Each question is tied to specific performance measures that indicate whether the market is growing in terms of revenue and volume, and whether LSPs are responding to either growth or declines with staffing changes. In this post, we share top-level survey results to provide an early indicator of how 2018 overall will turn out for LSPs.
Our survey respondents report a strong year: Eight-five percent of CEOs project growth for their 2018 revenue, 90% see volumes continue to rise, and 69% expect staffing levels to increase. This represents a solid majority of LSPs reporting positive conditions for their businesses. In addition, all three datapoints of the confidence survey are up 10% over our January 2018 confidence survey.
When we further break down the year, we find that data for the first half of the year is in line with the yearly projection for 2018, except for a greater investment in staffing.
The predictions for the remainder of the year are quite optimistic, reaching highs in all three components of the business confidence survey and signaling a stronger positive direction for the industry.
- 87% of CEOs in our sample anticipate a revenue increase, which represents a 15% increase over the January confidence data.
- 87% of CEOs in our sample expect a growth in content volumes, which represents a 6% growth over the January confidence data.
- 58% of CEOs in our sample plan to add extra staff, which represents a 10% growth over the January business confidence data.
Why Do These Indicators Matter?
The revenue and volume performance of top 100 LSPs provides telling clues about how the market is progressing and where the opportunities lie.
- An increase in revenue and volume ties to both market growth and a better acceptance of global content as a driver of revenue by a growing number of large and mid-size enterprises. The data in this confidence survey corroborates the results from our September qualitative survey of 53 content marketing and localization executives at buy-side companies, in which 62% of participants stated that global initiatives are very or extremely important to their organizations.
- And finally, the increase in staffing levels shows that automation is not yet affecting workforce levels, as humans retain a strong advantage despite progress in expert systems and artificial intelligence.
This year is on track to be another strong one for language service providers, making the market segment ever more attractive to new entrants and outside investors. The performance is in line with the CSA Research 2018 forecast, based on a representative sample of 531 LSPs out of our database of 18,000 providers. Smaller players in our list of 195 LSPs would be wise to position their company for growth through a strong sales and marketing organization, technology and staffing investments, and an expansion of their offerings. Pursuing these priorities will position LSPs to take advantage of a global economy that is growing despite political anti-globalization calls.
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