The past year brought continued recovery for the industry. Around a third of firms saw volumes increase, and almost as many said budgets increased as well. Large firms experienced the greatest gains. Internationally, nearly half of firms noted an increase in relocation volumes, driven mainly by mid-size and large firms experiencing this level of growth. Very few firms saw any volume or budget decreases.
Most firms expect volumes and budgets to stay at 2012 levels; more than a fourth expect volumes to increase overall and internationally. Overall expectations remain muted compared to 2004 and 2005 and similar to 2006 through 2008; expectations for international volume are similar to those of previous growth years. Large firms are the most optimistic, followed by mid-size firms.
However, only around one-fifth of all firms expect any budget increases, while most expect budgets to remain static. Expectations for increases are much lower than in previous growth years across company size, with the most marked difference among large firms. This seems to indicate the creative budgeting methods that allowed firms to "do more with less" during the latest economic downturn have become the new normal. Even as the economy recovers and relocation volumes stabilize and increase, costs are expected to remain lower overall.