LONDON: Business leaders intend to make focusing on the consumer one of their overriding priorities for the near future, according to a new study.

This is one of the findings of the PwC 2013 Global CEO Survey which established that this group had three main concerns for the future.

The top investment priorities for CEOs were identified as growing the customer base and improving operational effectiveness, both cited by 51%, and enhancing customer service, mentioned by 39%.

As regards the customer base, the main area for change was customer retention and loyalty strategies. CEOs are planning to take steps to stimulate demand and loyalty using a variety of mechanisms, ranging from digital marketing platforms to collaborative R&D.

When it comes to streamlining operational effectiveness to reduce costs without cutting value, this will likely involve working with fewer trusted partners in their supply chain.

The CEOs also indicated a desire to avoid spreading resources too thinly so they will target known markets for growth before exploring opportunities in new foreign markets.

This trend was more marked among European CEOs, with 23% expressing a preference for doing business in existing foreign markets compared to 17% globally.

Some 63% of European CEOs also indicated their intention to change company strategy during the next year.

The areas identified for major changes are customer growth and retention, cited by 82% of respondents, organisational structure, named by 72%, technology investments/innovation, referred to by 69%, and managing talent, mentioned by 65%.

Data sourced from PwC; additional content by Warc staff