Information Releases

Survey of Corporate Attitudes Toward the Economic Outlook for 2021

30% of companies expect worsening of the economy in 2021, while over 10% expect recovery
— “Containing the infection” ranked top for measures and policies required for economic recovery —


The second preliminary estimates of real GDP growth for July – September 2020, announced on December 8, 2020, increased 5.3% over that of the previous quarter (April – June), for an annualized increase of 22.9%, the first positive growth in four quarters. The domestic economy for 2020 has been greatly impacted by the novel coronavirus (hereinafter, COVID-19), but corporate production and shipping have recently been on the upswing, albeit moderately, and the economy has been gradually recovering, such as seen in the economic diffusion index being positive for the sixth consecutive month. On the other hand, however, there is concern about the downward risk associated with the spread of infection.

Teikoku Databank has conducted a survey of corporate attitudes toward the economic trends for 2020, and the economic outlook for 2021. This survey was conducted in conjunction with the November 2020 TDB Trends Research.

*Survey period: November 16 – November 30, 2020; Companies Surveyed: 23,686; Valid Responses: 11,363 (Response Rate: 48.0%). The survey for the economic outlook has been conducted every year since November 2006, and this is the 15th such survey.

*Details of this survey can be found on the dedicated Economic Trend Survey Website (

Primary points of survey results(summary)

  1. 1 The percentage of companies considering the economic trends for 2020 to be in a “recovery” phase was 3.4%, a decrease of 0.3 points from the previous survey (in November 2019), remaining at a single-digit percentage for the third consecutive year. On the other hand, companies considering the trends to be in a “soft patch” phase stood at 24.8%, while 56.0% of companies considered the trends to be in a “worsening” phase, an increase of 24.8 points from the previous survey, and over 50% for the first time in the eight years since 2012.
  2. 2 Companies expecting a “recovery” phase for the economic outlook in 2021 stood at 13.8%, an increase of 7.0% from the previous survey. 28.7% of companies expect a “soft patch” phase, a decrease of 4.1 points from the previous survey. Companies expecting a “worsening” phase decreased 4.8% from the previous survey to 32.4%, and over 30% for the second consecutive year. The percentage expecting a worsening in “Construction” (44.8%) and “Real Estate” (40.4%) are noticeable.
  3. 3 With respect to causes of concern for the economy in 2021, “magnifying the impact caused by infection,” such as by the COVID-19 infection, ranked top at 57.9% (multiple answers up to 3; the same applies hereinafter), followed by COVID-19- related items such as “(worsening) employment situation” (21.0%) and “(decrease in) income” (19.2%).
  4. 4 With respect to the policies required for economic recovery, “containing the infection” ranked top at 58.0% (multiple answers; the same applies hereinafter) followed by “expanding support measures for SMEs” (31.6%) and “measures to expand consumer spending” (25.0%).
  5. 5 When asked what impact will the swearing in of Mr. Biden as President of the United States have on the Japanese economy, 17.2% of companies answered “positive impact,” which exceeded those answering “negative impact” at 14.2%. 27.2% of companies answered “no impact,” and 41.4% answered “do not know.”
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