Hawaii Business BOSS Survey – June 2014

June, 2014

BOSS survey asks 403 local business leaders about:

Profits, Hiring, Fraud, Shoplifting, Cybersecurity and the Future

Download a copy of the entire survey at hawaiibusiness.com/BOSS

Performance Index

The Performance Index is based on the 403 business leaders’ assessments of their companies’ jobs, revenue and profit over the past 12 months.

Strongest economic performance in 10 years


Good News: Jobs

Only 13 percent of the companies surveyed had cut staff in the past 12 months. That’s the lowest level by far in the 16 years of this poll. The previous record low for the survey was 18 percent, which was reached in October 2013 and the first quarter of 2008.


Good News: Revenue

Almost half of the companies say revenue was up over the past 12 months. That’s the best result since the second quarter of 2004.


Good News: Profit

Profit was up at 41 percent of the companies surveyed – the second-best result ever in the survey, surpassed only by 45 percent in the second quarter of 2004.


Optimism Index


What will happen to hawaii’s economy in the coming year?


Are you acting on your optimism?

21 percent of companies are planning a substantial increase in spending on capital or other items. That’s the best result in the three years we’ve been asking this question.


Who is cutting costs?

Small companies were twice as likely as big companies to say they were planning on more cost cutting in the coming year


What do you think is the biggest threat to Hawaii’s economy?


Hiring And Retention Strategies

How are you dealing with the challenge of finding and keeping good employees?
(You can choose more than one in each category.)


Good News for Workers

Which main retention strategy is more popular this year than before: Paying employees more.


Fraud and Theft

Have you been the victim of fraud or theft in the past two years?

Non-Retail Companies Retail Companies What % of Companies on Each Island Were Victimized?


What Types of Crimes

The companies hit by fraud or theft in the past two years were asked to be more specific (some answered with more than one type of crime):

Is your fraud-and-theft problem increasing?


Did you recover your losses?



In this section, we focus on the 107 survey respondents who said their companies are primarily in retail.

No Big Differences

In terms of revenue, staffing and profit and optimism there were no significant differences between the results of all companies surveyed and those of just the retail companies.


One Exception

21 percent of all companies planned substantial increases in capital or other spending during this coming year. Only 12 percent of retail companies said they planned such increased spending.


Holiday Spending


Do you have a website that sells your products to consumers?


What are your big worries? (Some mentioned more than one concern)


Who are the customers on your website?


What is the impact of your Internet sales on your company?




In the past two years, have you been the victim of:


Have you taken extra measures to
improve cybersecurity:

Are you spending more
on cybersecurity?


How do you handle your IT needs?



What’s the BOSS?

BOSS stands for Business Outlook and Sentiment Survey.

Our polling partner: Qmark Research, www.qmarkresearch.com.

When: This edition of the twice-a-year BOSS survey was based on 403 random interviews of business executives and owners conducted by Qmark from April 25 to May 12, 2014.

Who: The sample includes proportionate representation of all sizes of Hawaii companies: Businesses with three to nine employees are designated as “very small;” 10 to 49 employees as “small”; 50 to 99 employees as medium; and 100 or more employees as “large.” The data was weighted to reflect the proper proportions of each company segment based on number of employees as reported by the state Department of Labor.

Retail: The retail section of this survey was based on a subset of the overall survey: 107 business leaders who describe their companies as doing a majority of their work in retail.

Where: Executives on all the major islands were interviewed, in proportion to the relative size of their island’s business activity.

Margin of Error: A sample of this size (n=401) has a margin of error of +/- 4.90 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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