McKinsey’s week in Charts

A positive pivot? Global executives seem the most bullish about their businesses since the early pandemic days of March

As of mid-October, the share of executives who expected their companies’ profits to increase was double what it was six months before, according to surveys we’ve conducted monthly since March. A similar share predicts that customer demand too will increase.

To read the survey, see “The coronavirus effect on global economic sentiment,” October 29, 2020.

Before the pandemic, many US universities were in a student amenities spending arms race

To woo students, universities spent heavily on student amenities, including expansive offerings in entertainment, gourmet dining, and wellness. Spending on student services has grown four times faster than investments in instruction and research.

To read the article, see “Reimagining higher education in the United States,” October 26, 2020

Europeans—especially Germans—are visiting more businesses online, more often than ever

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more European consumers and industries online. Germans’ use of digital channels has jumped 28 percentage points, versus an average of 13 for the continent as a whole.

To read the article, see “Reimagining the auto industry’s future: It’s now or never,” October 27, 2020.

Global petrochemical industry could take three years to return to 2019 profits

Global petrochemical industry could take three years to return to 2019 profits. The industry’s profits dropped by 44 percent going into 2019 because of overcapacity and declining demand. If there’s a muted recovery from COVID-19, the industry could see an additional 16 % slide. It would take until 2023 to return to 2019 profits.

To read the article, see “The impact of COVID-19 on the global petrochemical industry,” October 28, 2020.

Coronavirus vaccines are coming, but how effective will they be, and how widely adopted?

The answers affect progress toward herd immunity—and the end of the pandemic. Click through the four plausible scenarios below to see how much natural immunity would be needed (achieved through exposure and other means) to supplement vaccines of different effectiveness and adoption levels.

To read the article, see “When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?,” September 21, 2020.