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Highest-performing companies shift strategies to emphasise customer experience, says Economist Intelligence Unit report

CEOs across a range of industries are pushing their companies to adopt new strategies to enhance the customer experience, according to The rise of the customer-led economy, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report sponsored by And the better the company’s performance, the more likely it is to concentrate on connecting to customers.

A global survey conducted by the EIU found that recent social and technological changes have transformed the traditional relationship between a company and its customers, making the customer king again.

The vast majority of companies know they need to radically improve the experience they give to their customers. The survey finds that 89% of those that define themselves as “high-performing” are trying to take action here. Nearly one-third (27%) of all companies say they need to improve customer loyalty.

But 40% of companies say a lack of clarity about how the customer-led economy will evolve has hampered their efforts so far.

CEOs need to show leadership in this area, the report concludes, but many have not stepped up. Less than half (47%) of CEO respondents at the highest-performing firms have taken personal responsibility for the challenge.

Other key findings include:

  • Most companies (51%) are still relying on their website as their main communication tool, followed by e-mail (40%). Only 23% are using social media, with just 10% using mobile apps.
  • That mix will change over the next three years. Companies in the survey say social media will become their number-one channel (43%) and their use of apps will leap fourfold.

Emerging technologies are the principal enablers of this new customer-centric thinking. Companies are striving to follow their customers as they migrate across channels. Mobile and cloud-based applications are leading this trend, along with more intensive use of social media tools and connected products.

Companies are connecting their customers, employees, partners and products to increase customer satisfaction. More than 80% of the executives polled say improving these connections will enhance the customer experience.

The rise of the customer-led economy is available free of charge at

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Notes to editors

The Economist Intelligence Unit survey was carried out in June 2013. The survey polled 1,300 executives worldwide. The respondents are based in Europe (35%), North America (30%) and Asia-Pacific (24%); the remainder are from the Middle East and Africa and Latin America. A total of 90 countries are represented. C-level executives represent 61% of the total number of respondents, who hail from 19 different industries.

About the Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business–to–business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. As the world's leading provider of country intelligence, the Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better business decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies. More information about the Economist Intelligence Unit can be found at or follow us on

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