| These statistics are for website visitors - not "hits" or
"page views" or "ad impressions". As shown in the charts
below, we have openly disclosed our monthly and
daily website visit statistics since the launch of
www.gdi-solutions.com in 2004,
followed by www.OnTheShortList.com
in 2006 and the launch of
with new market research tools for
information and links about our services below these
Contact us for details about targeted online advertising through our websites to reach executives at major companies in the USA and
April 2009 analysis below of website visit
levels (still holding steady at 2008 levels) and the flow of serious
investment project enquiries.
Refer also to our
Business Roundtable CEO
Survey analysis, which also shows no "glimmers of hope" yet.
On the contrary, there's no end in sight.
As expected for a
B2B website, our reach on weekdays is dramatically higher, and falls on
As a global business,
however, note that weekends in the US may still be weekdays elsewhere in the
In our first 3
years, our reach grew rapidly to a 600,000+ visitors per year pace
(50,000+ per month).
Visits in 2008
slowed by about 10% to 546,751 - very similar to 2006.
This may reflect the global economic recession during 2008.
October 2009 have been only slightly higher than in 2008 - up 2.4% to a
46,666 / mo average versus 45,563 in 2008.
Visit activity has
remained flat since August 2007, shortly before the recession "officially"
started in December 2007.
There has been a
slight increase in October 2009 visits, but not a significant one yet by
comparison to pre-recession levels in 2004 - 2007.
Although we do not compete with magazine publishers, this visit level
already exceeds some prominent specialty magazines in this niche.
They have been in circulation for decades to 25,000 to 45,000 recipients
such as corporate real estate managers for free (at advertiser expense).
Our level of visit activity reflects the market demand for the unique
independent professional referral service we offer for investment project
Analysis: Is the hot market for capital investment projects turning
cold now? Visit activity dropped significantly in August - September 2007
May - June - July 2007 peak.
Anecdotal evidence from
project enquiries suggests an increase in interest by foreign
companies in investment projects in the US market, particularly among
European companies as the dollar weakened.
|Our 2006 analysis
of published project statistics by state may also be
of interest for perspective.
Monthly Analysis: Website Visits
Visits went up
by surprise in October 2008, but were relatively flat for the year.
See our latest market analysis
comments below these charts.
Which states were "hot" in 2008?
See our October 2008 analysis of the research
interests of our visitors by state using our new Search: Americas tools.
We also share analysis of our October 2006 - 2007
visitor interests by US state and by
Our daily visit analysis is
shown below with comparable daily charts for 2009, 2008, and for 2004 -
US Project Trends, 1994 - 2006
Analysis of Business Roundtable
CEO Survey 2002-2009 Results
Directory Visits by
October 2006 - 2007
Global Analysis of Regional Directory Visits
Daily visit patterns in 2009 - The pattern
for 2009 remains very comparable to the same period in 2008.
It's still about
10% below the 2007 levels (peak year, before recession), but above 2004
We are separately
growing our reach among
political conservatives in the USA through
www.SurgeUSA.org in 2009.
That new initiative to reach many American conservatives has
attracted over 220,000 visitors in the first 9 months.
That new reach is expected to grow significantly further in
2010 as the mid-term election cycle begins with primaries early in the year.
patterns in 2008 - We observed a decline in visits from the June 2007
peak, but levels were fairly stable until July 2008, when they dropped as
the financial market problems became apparent.
They started to
rise again by September - in spite of the global stock market decline in
October and other indicators - but remained relatively flat for the year. See our
analysis of visitor interests for 2008.
Analysis: Website Visits - As the 30 day moving average trend lines
below show, we sustained high growth in visit levels over the same
period in prior years from our launch in 2004 through 2007. Growth flattened out late in 2007
as the global recession started, but visits
remained at fairly high levels.
April 2009 Update: "Glimmers of hope" for recovery in
the direct investment market? Not much real evidence of it yet from
As of mid-April, despite some
political talk of "glimmers of hope" about an economic recovery, we're not
seeing it in the flow of website visitors or investment project enquiries.
By the nature of this business, new job creation through capital investment
projects in corporate expansion tends to lag rather than lead a recovery,
but business executives don't stick their necks out to make large strategic
capital investments in the growth of their companies until they see hard
evidence through their own sales performance and existing capacity
constraints that there is a need to take the risks involved in any such
For now, the flow of website visitors has basically been
flat at around a 550,000 per year pace (1500 average visitors per day) since
September 2007, a few months before the recession officially started, and a
full year before the stock market crash when the banking and insurance
problems became obvious in September 2008. Any initial optimism after
the TARP program that the economy would soon recover in 2009 was soon
abandoned after the November elections, and especially after Congress
started to aggressively push massive new spending programs and a larger and
more politically-driven role for government in directing the financial
services industry, automobile industry, and other sectors, including the
promotion of new industrial policies to favor some sectors and impose new
taxes and costs on businesses and the "wealthy". This populist class
warfare between those who pay taxes and those who don't has created a lot of
uncertainty about the future of the American economy.
That may not have much impact on short-term speculators in
the stock market or other financial markets, but before companies invest
tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to create many new jobs, it's not
unexpected that business leaders will want to see some political stability
and predictability. In short, given all the sweeping changes which
Congress has been ramming through in the first few months of the Obama
administration, what the heck is next on their agenda? How can one
plan seriously for growth when the intrusive impact of government on
business may expand very unpredictably? In this context, investment
may actually continue in some foreign markets which - even if not terribly
attractive - are at least fairly predictable risks.
Meanwhile, the United States is facing the sort of
environment of political and economic uncertainty which has traditionally
been more of a problem in developing countries with excessive government
spending, debt, and social instability. That has typically been
accompanied by investor expectations of a higher risk/reward benefit, as in
markets perceived to have high growth potential, and a higher ROI even if
the corporate cost of capital is relatively low by comparison, particularly
through borrowing and equity raised in more stable markets at lower rates
than local ones.
That is not really the case in the present environment.
The corporate credit market squeeze in the US market (as well as Europe and
elsewhere) limits the investment project potential just about anywhere.
As investment activity picks up again once the global recession abates, the
capital investment activity seems likely to grow slowly and may grow first
and fastest in those places (from a global perspective) which are perceived
to offer the best long-term potential. Typically, the flow of projects
will lag the end of a recession. The flow of enquiries may pick up, as
executives start to plan ahead during the recession to look for their next
growth opportunities, but they won't push forward with their plans until
higher confidence returns that the new investments will pay off as expected.
For now, the flow of visitors and project enquiries seems
to have stabilized. It didn't crash dramatically with the financial
crisis. Executives didn't stop expecting their companies to grow and
prosper in the future. They're just not convinced yet that this is the
time to do it. They may plan ahead, but they are still making cuts
rather than investments as they prepare for a better economy at some point.
The current political environment doesn't boost confidence that this is the
time to invest, and even if there were such confidence among some
executives, the credit markets and their current levels of profitability and
cash flows won't make it easy to do so. The risk of significant tax
changes for businesses and their investors, not just at the state but also
at state and local levels, also complicates theit planning scenarios.
Anyway, that's one reason why we have been spending more
time on the Tax Day Tea Party movement recently, as documented at
www.SurgeUSA.org . When the flow
of investment activity picks up again, it will probably be conservative
business executives who lead the investment plans - unless the investment is
driven by new government spending decisions. With tight state budgets
making it more difficult than ever to justify large investment incentives
deals, at the same time as there is more competition for the fewer good
projects which are out there, it's a complex picture. It's not yet
clear how it will play out. Plans seem to be moving very slowly.
October 2008 Update: Is the capital investment market
finally turning up again?
One month certainly
doesn't make a trend, but the above chart of monthly visit levels reflects
an unexpected increase in visitors in October 2008 to levels which have not
been reached since July 2007, other than the brief bounce in February 2008
as reported previously. We are not yet aware of anything specific
which would explain a surge in daily visits in the second half of October.
There was no significant new marketing activity or content on our part
during this period which would explain the surge. This was, however,
the month of extensive government intervention to stabilize financial
markets worldwide, and it also coincided with a rapid decline in world oil
prices to roughly half the levels of a few months ago. There was also
a rapid reversal of the weakness of the US dollar in Europe.
It remains too early to tell whether this activity is a
temporary anomaly, or perhaps an indicator of a turning point toward
economic recovery in 2009. Another surprising fact is that this surge
coincided with the massive October decline in the US and foreign stock
markets, and the first reports of negative US GDP growth for the third
quarter, with extremely pessimistic consumer confidence numbers and other
economic statistics. Perhaps some growth plans for 2007 and 2008 which
had been shelved by executives are being dusted off in case the US and
global economy improves in 2009, given the typically long lead time for
The question now is whether executives will hunker down in
fear of a long recession, or plan ahead and prepare to move fast in the next
cycle of growth. In a global economy, there are almost always
opportunities somewhere, so there may just be a shift in regional focus to
expand in the strongest markets while also looking for long-term value and
negotiating advantages during temporary periods of market weakness.
The trend at the end of 2008 and in the early months of 2009
should be very interesting
We'll soon see
whether the minor surge in visits in October is sustained. In any case, the
US presidential election and the expected changes in the House and Senate
may dramatically alter some assumptions about the US economy and investment
climate relative to other countries. The trend for the year is often
apparent by the end of March. December is generally a weak month in
any case because of holidays.
The more direct impact on US investment activity often
comes from changes in state governors. Regardless of whether the new
policies are more pro-investment or not than the predecessor, it takes time
for the changes to play out. The campaign promises often cannot be
easily converted into actual policy changes which alter the business
environment or even tax costs. They may indicate the intended
direction of change, but as with any governmental bureaucracies, it may take
time for the intended changes to be implemented, if ever.
The point is simply that the US economy is obviously going
through a political and economic transition period. It is hard to
tell, however, whether this will be a turning point for the better, or
perhaps for the worse. In the short term, the investment climate seems
likely to remain unpredictable.
CEO Survey information should also be interesting
We also provide charts which make it easy to visualize trends
in CEO expectations for their company growth in sales, job creation, and
capital investment as well as US GDP growth assumptions as reported by the
Business Roundtable through their quarterly surveys. During 2007 and
the first three quarters of 2008, this data did not seem to be reflecting
the same economic doom and gloom picture as was being spread by the US
politicians and news media during this election cycle. Once the
November 2008 election results are behind us, as well as the October stock
market decline and the unprecedented level of US and foreign government
intervention in the financial markets, it will be interesting to see whether
the CEO Survey shows any dramatic changes.
Analysis of Business Roundtable
CEO Survey 2002-2008 Results
February 2008 Analysis: Is the market for capital
investment projects turning down? Or is it already bouncing back now?
As we first noted in our September 2007 review of the decline in website
visit activity in August, there was a sharp decline in the number of
visits at the end of 2007 The reason for this is not entirely clear,
but the low visits in December 2007 relative to prior months seem to
have been primarily caused by a more dramatic drop than usual in the second
half of the month during the Christmas and New Years holidays.
January 2008 also got off to a slow start as expected, but
then picked up later in the month. This seemed to coincide with more
economic uncertainties in the US market - including extensive media coverage
and political commentary about the risk of an economic slowdown or
recession, followed by sharp interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and
plans for a fiscal stimulus package in Congress, including some potential
tax breaks for businesses. As the month ended, however, the basic
economic (and political) picture for 2008 was still ambiguous even though
many corporate earnings reports for 2007 were looking pretty good - with the
exception of some of the massive write-offs of subprime mortgage securities
in the financial services industry and the related downturn in residential
The trend in
daily and monthly website visit activity as shown above can be influenced by
many factors other than the level of business interest in the planning of capital investment
projects. One must therefore be cautious about attributing causes to
such effects, but the downturn was steady enough for several months
to be noteworthy. As our scheduled marketing activities increase once
again in 2008, it will be interesting to see how
visit levels respond.
For example, many of the visitors arrive via Google search
results because we openly share so much content related to this niche market.
We have no control, however, over the way that Google searches work. A
change in the way that Google ranks our pages for keyword relevance relative to
others, or the emergence or promotion of other websites with relevant
content, can significantly alter our level of visit activity regardless of the actual
level of economic activity in the market.
Over time, however, it is interesting to note that the
level of visits to our websites has grown very steadily since the start of
2004 until July 2007. It is not unusual to have a downturn in visit
activity during the summer months, but it usually bounces back up pretty
quickly in the fall, as shown by the 30 day moving average lines. In early
September 2007, however, the 2006 and 2007 moving average lines crossed for the first
time on the way down, after nearly doing so in April 2007. It bounced
back up to August levels in October, but it is too early to predict a clear trend
In short, the annualized pace of visits has dropped from
over 700,000 per year in June 2007 to just over 500,000 in September, but
bounced back up to over 600,000 again by February 2008.
The downturn was a surprisingly rapid change from what seemed to be a steadily upward
trend in visit levels for the last 4 years until that time. It is too
early to tell which way the trend will go from here, but we still had over 600,000 visits
as expected in 2007, or roughly a 6% gain
over 2006. We had predicted at the end of 2006 that the rapid growth
of recent years would plateau at some point, but we still expect continued
growth from this level in 2008. Instead of 607,312 visits for 2007, we
originally expected well over 620,000, and were somewhat surprised by the
spring and summer 2007 surge to a much faster pace. In any case, we
still expect comparable visit levels in 2008, probably reaching
600,000 or more visitors again for the year.
expected that the first quarter of 2008 may
just get off to a slower start than the rest of the year because of
continued economic and political uncertainties, particularly in the US
market because of the potential spillover effect of any US slowdown or
recession on economic conditions and business investment activity in other
regions of the world as well. The negative political climate and
uncertain outcome during the US
presidential election cycle, including a potentially significant impact
on US taxes and government spending over the years ahead, may lead some
executives to put expansion plans on hold while these changes play out.
explains the downturn in visits during summer 2007?
Once again, as cautioned at left, it is risky to infer trends
from a short period of data which may not be representative of real changes
in market conditions. For example, we have not attempted to correlate
the above data to historical records such as the flow of completed
commercial real estate transactions worldwide for industrial and office
It is simply interesting to note the coincidence with
turmoil in the financial markets during the summer of 2007, and in
particular the residential real estate market and the impact on the
availability and cost of credit, which can influence the cost and financial
viability of capital investment projects.
Furthermore, this led to widespread concern about the
risks of a recession in the USA, although it certainly seems premature to
predict anything more than slower growth in the context of continued
strength in global markets.
Turmoil in the US (and UK) banking industry and commercial
paper market, and media speculation about this as yet another financial
"crisis" and risk of recession, may have temporarily affected the level of
planning activity by companies for future capital investment projects.
In other words, some planning activity for future capital
investment projects may have been temporarily shelved for a while in summer
2007, which could explain the downturn in visit activity for our business
location research websites. Executives may well have been waiting to
see whether this latest "crisis" in the economy was really going to have any
visible impact on their own business activity.
similar situation had seemed to occur in late 2006 when there was also a lot
of negative media speculation, particularly around the time of the US
elections that year, about when the economy would turn down. Within a
few months, however, confidence seemed to have returned and visit levels
were breaking records again.
As we go into the 2008
US presidential election year - and many elections for state governors -
there will probably continue to be a lot of negative news about the US
economy regardless of actual corporate profit performance and growth plans,
including global expansion projects.
evidence: level of project enquiries versus website visit levels
Ultimately, the level of visit activity to our websites
should be somewhat indicative of the level of interest in planning of
corporate expansion projects, because these websites are designed to be
reference tools for that purpose.
The steady increase in visit levels over recent years
seems to have accompanied the rapid growth in the number of capital
investment projects during 2004 - 2007 after the slower period of 2000 -
2003 which followed the end of the 1990s boom, such as many illusory "dot
bomb" projects which soon disappeared. It is hard to tell, however,
whether visit activity will prove to be a useful leading indicator of
project activity in this market, as one would intuitively assume.
For example, as more projects are planned, visits should
go up. As fears of a recession rise, planning activity for expansion
projects should drop pretty quickly, and then be confirmed by staying low
(if the recession risk turns out to be real) until executives start to
perceive an upturn in their business activity, utilize their existing
capacity, and feel more confident about the need to invest in expansion
Thus, visit activity should drop quickly as fears rise (as
executives try to avoid expanding into a recession) and should lag a
recovery (as executives wait to see whether the upturn is real enough to
face capacity constraints, and thus start planning expansion projects
There seem to be lots of active "project leads" in the
pipeline for economic development agencies at the moment, but it remains to
be seen whether these project plans will start to move more slowly, or be
abandoned, if there turns out to be an actual recession. Executives
are likely to just defer project plans at first, rather than abandon them.
This does not, however, have the same feel as the speculative bubble of the
late 1990s. There seem to be a lot of projects with strong fundamental
justification these days, rather than dubious viability. There may be
some short term financial market liquidity or recession fear issues to
overcome, but the project market still seem to be pretty strong.
We attracted 58,850 visitors in May 2007 - another new
record. We had 61,622 visitors in June 2007, which exceeded a
700,000 per year pace.
In July, we
had 57,491 visitors. August and September 2007 were sharply
lower for no immediately obvious reason - although this later proved to
coincide with financial market problems.
We had roughly 48,000 visitors in October 2007, and 46,000 in
As a B2B niche service to support thousands of capital
investment project decisions worldwide each year, visit levels were expected
to plateau at some point.
of major US capital investment projects as summarized in our
April 2006 newsletter (.pdf)
In short, there are
a limited number of projects in the USA each year - such as just a few
thousand which create over 50 jobs in new locations.
These add up to billions of dollars in capital investment
by companies, and many new jobs, with a very valuable impact on the
The purpose of this business is to reach the top
executives behind such projects and provide them with a better service, like
a global "concierge".
We deliver value by helping executives, service providers,
and communities to develop such projects faster, better, at lower cost, and
with less risk.
Global Direct Investment
Solutions : search 25,000+ resources about business locations
This is an independent executive concierge service for
referrals in this niche market.
On The Short List : features business
locations and services more selectively, and offers many unique market
Short List News openly
shares relevant news, press releases, professional insights and useful
global contacts in this niche market for free.
also offer unique research tools, such as
Search: Americas as well as the USA Search
or Area Search
We help advertisers to attract the attention of relevant
executives, and may also
feature recent fDi magazine advertisers in the USA.