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Weekly Media Briefing


This week’s topics: 

  • What will consumers spend this Black Friday? 
  • Cyber security threat to increase over next 12 months
  • ESG goals become more embedded in remuneration decisions for FTSE 100 executives


What will consumers spend this Black Friday?

After waning popularity in recent years Black Friday is back with a bang with one in four consumers saying they are definitely buying this year. PwC survey of over 2000 adults in the UK found;

  • Black Friday spending intentions differ by gender, with men expecting to spend 60% more than women. (£338 v £210).
  • Millennials expect to spend more than any other age group, spending on average £337
  • Consumers are not looking to buy Christmas presents on Black Friday, they’re buying for themselves; especially men, where 74% will treat themselves. 
  • The categories set to do well are electricals and fashion, which is good news for fashion retailers who were amongst the hardest hit in lockdown.  

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said:

Retailers will want to do all they can to attract Black Friday bargain hunters but discounting too much to drive volume will only impact the success of Christmas trading, which is likely to begin in earnest shortly after. 

With possible supply constraints around the festive season, managing pricing to protect margins and not disappoint shoppers, particularly where people will be more willing to pay full price, will be critical.  


UK business leaders expect cyber security threat to increase over next 12 months

Two thirds (66%) of UK business leaders expect the threat from cyber criminals to increase over the next 12 months, according to the latest PwC cyber security survey of business and technology executives. The findings reinforce the concerns of UK businesses about different cyber threats, as well the potential vulnerability of their supply chains.

  • 61% expect to see an increase in reportable ransomware incidents in 2022
  • 86% said that complexity in their organisation was creating concerning levels of risk, with third-party cyber risks a glaring blind spot 
  • 64% expect a jump in attacks on their cloud services over the next year
  • 63% are increasing their cyber security budgets over the coming year

Bobbie Ramsden-Knowles, Crisis and Resilience Partner, at PwC said: 

The threat from ransomware attacks is impossible to ignore. Criminal groups are becoming brazen and scaling their operations through ‘ransomware as a service’ and the use of affiliate criminal groups. At PwC our threat intelligence team has already tracked more ransomware incidents globally, up to September 2021, than in the whole of 2020.

Ransomware has the potential to rapidly disrupt an organisation’s entire business, across geographies and functions. Organisations must embed a framework for managing enterprise-wide crises, to be able to respond to this type of disruptive event in a coordinated way.


ESG goals become more embedded in remuneration decisions for FTSE 100 executives

  • Almost 60% of FTSE 100 companies now include ESG measures as part of their executive incentive plans, with 58% of the FTSE 100 now linking ESG measures to executive pay, an increase of nearly one third on last year, when 45% of companies had these measures.
  • Just under half of companies (46%) had an ESG measure in their annual bonus for 2020
  • Almost one third (32%) incorporated an ESG measure into the assessment of their 2021 long-term incentive plans (LTIP). 
  • The average weighting of ESG measures is 16% in the bonus and 20% in the LTIP. 

Phillippa O’Connor, Reward & Employment Leader at PwC UK, comments:

Our research shows that 28% of FTSE 100 companies have a measure linked to decarbonisation and net zero. 

Executive pay and reward offer an important lever to align senior leaders with ESG challenges and is increasingly seen as a key tool to achieving change, with two thirds of investors believing that ESG performance measures and targets should be included in executive pay.”

Someone to meet:

Vicky Parker, a passionate advocate of sustainable decarbonisation across the energy industry has joined PwC as its new UK Energy, Utilities and Resources Strategy & leader. At what is a critical inflexion point for the UK and global energy industry as it accelerates its net zero journey, Vicky, says:

Following COP26, there is an imperative for companies and business leaders to deliver on the journey to net zero - we cannot afford to fail as there is no Plan B.

In practical terms this means the largest mobilisation of finance we have ever witnessed to drive change and new investments to support the transition, alongside new leadership which is brave and has conviction in the climate change goals. 

The transformation required is enormous, from a relentless focus on sustainable purpose across organisations to forging new partnerships across sectors to combine much needed skills and innovation, as they evolve and adapt to meet an ever more demanding investor and consumer landscape.

Something to read:

Although COP26 came to a close earlier this month, it’s now that the hard work begins. So, what are the key takeaways and where should organisations be focussing when it comes to continuing the conversation on ESG? Our latest blog from Emma Cox, Global Climate Leader at PwC explores some of the key business breakthroughs and developments we’ve seen over the past few weeks. 

Something to watch:

PwC is running a webinar with Black Young Professionals on Wednesday 1st December. Tune in to hear PwC employees share their confessions of self-doubt.and how they’ve learnt to overcome. Register here 

About PwC

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Nicola Thorogood

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