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Quarterly Trend Report: What CEOs talked about in Q4/2023

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A 58-page report on the trends that emerged in Q4/2023 earnings calls. The report is based on data from 80,000+ corporate earnings calls of US-listed companies from Q1/2019 through Q4/2023.
Document type: PDF, PPTX
Published: December 2023
Main author: Philipp Wegner
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About the report

The “Quarterly Trend Report: What CEOs talked about in Q4/2023” is part of IoT Analytics’ ongoing coverage of CEO insights with a focus on technology. The information​ presented in this report is based on a database of 80,000+ earnings calls of US-listed companies from Q1/2019 through Q4/2023. Every quarter, IoT Analytics analyzes trends that emerge in the earnings calls and presents findings for the most recent quarter. The purpose is to inform other market participants about the current focus of CEOs and companies. To ensure objectivity, IoT Analytics did not alter or supplement any results and did not exclude any earnings call deliberately.​​

Key rising themes in Q4
1. Economic concerns: Interest rates
2. Budget and cost optimization
3. Geopolitical uncertainty

Declining themes in Q4
1. Generative AI
2. Supply chain
3. Sustainability

What it means for CEOs
6 key questions that CEOs should ask themselves based on the insights in this report:
1. Inflation management: How can we further adapt our strategies to manage the ongoing impact of inflation on our business operations and pricing models?
2. Interest rate fluctuations: With interest rates holding steady, should we revisit our financial planning and debt management strategies?
3. Budget and cost optimization: In light of the increased focus on budgets and cost optimization, what areas of our business can we target for efficiency improvements without sacrificing quality or growth potential?
4. Geopolitical risks: What impacts do geopolitical uncertainties like war and possible government shutdowns have on our company? Can we mitigate the risk associated on our supply chain and overall business?
5. Consumer sentiment: Considering the impact of economic factors on consumer sentiment, how should we adjust our marketing and product strategies to maintain customer loyalty and market share?
6. Technological investments: Considering the changing market dynamics and emerging competitors in the field, do we have an AI strategy in place that we are starting to execute?

What it means for those serving CEOs
There is an opportunity for employees, service providers, and other stakeholders to help CEOs excel at the topics they care about. Here are 5 key questions that those who serve CEOs could ask themselves based on findings in this report:
1. Budgeting and cost optimization: What tools or strategies can I provide or suggest to help the company in optimizing budgets and reducing costs effectively?
2. Monitoring geopolitical developments: How can I keep the CEO informed about geopolitical developments, especially regarding the conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and a potential U.S. government shutdown, and their potential impact on our business?
3. Assessing technology trends: Given the continued positivity around generative AI, what insights can I offer regarding the relevance and application of these technologies in our business context?
4. Competitive analysis in tech investments: How can I assist in evaluating our position and strategy regarding investments in AI, GPUs, and related infrastructure, especially considering market shifts and competition?
5. Impact of government shutdown: In what ways can I help the CEO prepare for and respond to the potential impacts of a possible U.S. government shutdown and its economic implications?

Table of Contents

Quarterly Trend Report: What CEOs talked about in Q4 2023 (PDF)

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Pulse Check: The current economic environment
  3. What CEOs talked about in Q4/2023
    1. Importance of selected topics in earnings calls since Q1 2019
    2. #1 Economic concerns
    3. #2 Geopolitical uncertainty
    4. #3 Supply Chain
    5. #4 (Generative) AI
    6. #5 Sustainability
    7. #6 Industry 4.0
  4. Select deep-dives
  5. Sentiment & Outlook 2024 by region and vertical
  6. Appendix


Knud Lasse Lueth, Philipp Wegner

Questions answered

  • How is the overall economic environment affecting companies’ earnings in Q4 2023? ​
  • What are some of the upcoming trends that CEOs talk about?​
  • What keywords were most dominant in the earnings calls in the last quarter?​
  • Which themes have lost importance in the last few years?​
  • What are upcoming trends in different sectors?​
  • How did the sentiment change in earnings calls in Q4 2023?
  • And more…

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