The past year brought continued normalization for the industry, solidifying the recovery that began in 2012. Forty-one percent of firms saw relocation volumes increase; over a fourth saw budgets increase as well. Mid-size and large firms experienced the greatest gains overall, with nearly half seeing more relocations and more than a third seeing budget increases. Internationally, the story is similar; thirty-seven percent of firms saw international relocation volumes increase. Large firms lead the surge; around half experienced growth in international volumes. Few saw any decreases in volumes or budgets.
Expectations for 2014 are positive and similar to 2013. Most companies expect volumes and budgets to stay at 2013 levels; a fourth or more expect further increases in volumes overall and internationally. Compared to 2004 and 2005, expectations overall remain muted (similar to 2006 through 2008), while expectations for international volumes are similar to previous growth years. Mid-size and large firms are more optimistic generally, but large firms are slightly more optimistic internationally.
Across company size, around a fifth of firms expect budget increases in 2014, while the majority expects budgets to remain the same. This follows a trend that emerged last year and suggests the creative budgeting of the Great Recession has become the new normal. Over the last two years, relocation volumes have risen at a greater rate than budgets.