NAOS CEO Insights

May 3, 2024

CEO INSIGHTS – Week Ending 3 May 2024

"Contrary to select rhythm reports, China continues to develop rapidly. With hundreds of new shopping malls, residential complexes, and commercial developments opening every year"

Joey Wat, CEO, Yum China

Artificial Intelligence

“The workers work for companies. And so companies, when they become more productive, earnings increase. I’ve never seen one company that had earnings increase and not hire more people. I believe that you still want humans in the loop, because we have good judgment, because there are circumstances that the machines are not — just not going to understand” Jensen Huang, CEO, Nvidia

China Demand Recovery

“In China, retail sales growth continues to improve, but consumer confidence is still below 2019 levels" James Quincey, CEO, Coca-Cola

"Contrary to select rhythm reports, China continues to develop rapidly. With hundreds of new shopping malls, residential complexes, and commercial developments opening every year" Joey Wat, CEO, Yum China

"The consumer environment in Greater China remains challenging" Daniel Ordonez, COO, Oatly Group Ab

"In China, we still see the effects of a slower-than-expected recovery, and we see fierce competition among value players in the market" Laxman Narasimhan, CEO, Starbucks

Macro Environment

"On a macroeconomic front, the picture remains mixed. First, strong labor markets and solid wage growth remain in countries across the globe. This is supportive of healthy consumer spending. Second, inflation has been moderating with a path toward normalization of monetary policy in most countries. Persistent inflation in the United States could delay rate cuts here." Michael Miebach, CEO, Mastercard


“Cybercrime is a growing concern. Last year alone, people in the United States lost over $12 billion to internet scams" Michael Miebach, CEO, Mastercard


“Since 2019, the cost of building materials has increased 33.5%, labour by 12.7% and building a house by 39.8% overall" Denita Wawn, CEO, Master Builders of Australia

"Total Supermarkets price inflation reduced to 2.2% in the third quarter (3.0% in 2Q24) as a result of moderating inflation in packaged coupled with deflation within the fresh category. Inflation excluding tobacco and fresh also continued to moderate to 2.9% (4.0% in 2Q24)" Coles Group, Market Statement


“Banks have been restricted in our ability to do what we’re supposed to do, which is to provide credit to allocate capital to generate growth, jobs and higher living standards. Yes, we’re going to be really safe. And you’re seeing that – the banks have got huge amounts of capital, huge amounts of liquidity, ultra-low credit losses. But at what cost? I think the cost is growth, prosperity, high living standards. And the other cost is social equity. Because what’s happening is the rich have access to all of these services, and it’s not just the poor, it’s actually the middle that is missing out today – under-banked, under-insured, under-advised.” Shayne Elliot, CEO, ANZ

"In Australia, household consumption growth slowed sharply in the second half of 2023, impacted by interest rates and cost of living pressures. This is weighing on real GDP growth which is expected to remain below-trend over the near term." National Australia Bank, Market Statement

Discretionary Consumer

"We know one of the key things that customers do when they’re trying to manage their budget is that they will look to trade into more affordable brands. We’re really seeing customers go at both ends of the spectrum to look for value” Leah Weckert, CEO, Coles Group

“And so savings rates have started to decrease. Cost of living has gone up. Yes, we all talk about interest rates…but it is the combination of things that has really hurt the consumer. It’s low relative real wage growth over a sustained period of time, higher interest rates, and it is absolutely utilities which we don’t talk enough about, which really hurts the consumer” Angus McKay, CEO, 7-Eleven

“It is clear that broad based consumer pressures persist around the world. Consumers continue to be even more discriminating with every dollar that they spend as they faced elevated prices in their day-to-day spending which is putting pressure on the QSR industry" Christopher Kempczinski, CEO, McDonalds Corporation

Fossil Fuels

“There is no way Australia can meet its renewable and climate targets if we keep propping up coal-fired power stations, particularly the nation’s biggest” Wayne Smith, Acting CEO, Smart Energy Council

Electric Vehicle Industry

"Demand for battery electric vehicles was muted at the beginning of the year in Europe and North America. Substantial growth in China could not fully compensate for this." Arno Antlitz, COO, Volkswagen AG

Interest Rates

"Customer segments that are most exposed to the increase in housing costs (families with a mortgage or young singles, couples or families that are renters) report the highest levels of concern. We are also seeing these customer segments make the most use of ways to save such as buying products on promotions, comparing unit prices and making the most of reward and loyalty programs." Brad Banducci, CEO, Woolworths Group

“We have a house view that Australia is very much a confidence-based market, so every time there was a rate increase, even though it might not have been a substantial hit to someone’s wallet, it was a confidence belt to the consumer.” Angus McKay, CEO, 7-Eleven

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