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Survey of Corporate Attitudes towards Performance Outlook for 2021

Performance outlook and profit change forecasts for 2021 at odds
— “Cash flow difficulty is evident in the service sector catering to individuals —


Economic activities in the domestic economy continue to be affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Although the state of emergency was lifted and bright signs are beginning to gradually appear, such as vaccinations and the creation of a demand that matches the new lifestyle, “stronger measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus” have been applied in some regions, and we don’t yet see when the situation will return to normal. On the other hand, an economic recovery is expected through the hosting of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games which were postponed from 2020, and 5G (fifth generation of wireless communications systems) kicking into full swing.

Therefore, Teikoku Databank has conducted a survey of corporate attitudes towards the performance outlook for 2021. This survey was conducted in conjunction with the March 2021 TDB Trends Research.

*Survey period: March 18 to 31, 2021; Companies Surveyed: 23,703; Valid Responses: 11,261 (Response Rate: 47.5%) .

*The survey of the performance outlook has been conducted every year since February 2009, and this is the 13th such survey.

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

Primary points of survey results(summary)

  1. 1 27.4% of companies anticipate “increases in income and profit” in the performance outlook for 2021, up 13.9 points from the previous survey’s performance outlook for 2020 (in March 2020). On the other hand, 26.0% of companies anticipate “decreases in income and profit”, down 18.4 points from that in the performance outlook for 2020. The performance outlooks for 2021 turned out to be at odds, with some aspects increasing and some decreasing. In terms of anticipating an increase in income and profit by type of business, that of automobile and automobile component-related “manufacture of transportation machinery and equipment” ranked top at 40.4%. In terms of anticipating a decrease in income and profit, “retail trade, general merchandise”, including general merchandise stores that enjoyed a booming home-cooking demand in 2020, had the highest percentage.
  2. 2 With respect to upside factors in the performance outlook for 2021, “convergence of infectious disease” regarding the novel coronavirus ranked top at 45.6%. “Recovery of consumer spending” ranked second highest at 42.9%, up 8.1 points from the previous survey, followed by “an increase in public works”, “expansion of economic policies”, “Chinese economy growth”, and “US economy growth”. On the other hand, “spread of infectious disease” ranked top at 54.7% in the downside factors, followed by “further downturn in consumer spending” (35.4%).
  3. 3 When asked a question about the company’s cash flow conditions as of March 2021, 43.2% of companies felt “easy” cash flow conditions, 40.6% responded “neither”, and 13.6% responded “difficult”. While many said they have raised funds through special COVID-19 related financing, a severe cash flow in small companies, particularly in the service sector catering to individuals, such as “Japanese inns, hotels”, “entertainment services”, and “restaurants”, is evident.
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