Key insights

  • 71 %

    of manufacturers are focusing on productivity to adapt to changing customer needs and preferences.

  • 83 %

    of manufacturers and distributors expressed confidence with business conditions over the next year.

  • 80 %

    expect increasing energy costs to have a moderate or high impact in 2024.

  • 41 %

    see labour skill levels as the biggest challenge for their business.

  • 81 %

    anticipate an increased level of technology investment in 2024.

  • 34 %

    expect that mandatory climate related financial reporting will significantly change their business strategy.

Outlook for the Industry

“The report arrives at a time when we know manufacturers and distributors have again had to draw on their resilience. The research shows that most businesses have at least moderately increased production volumes and continued investing in 2023, ensuring operations remained agile, efficient, and productive. Capacity utilisation rates as a proxy for productivity also remain healthy. We hope this reports helps you navigate and strategically plan for the year ahead."

– Maria Christina - National Manager, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade

Get in touch with our industry specialists

Industry viewpoints

Vitality Brands

In recent years, Vitality Brands (‘Vitality’) has evolved its business and market footprint. The producer and wholesaler behind leading personal care brands, Cancer Council, Epzen and Tribe, has been busy expanding its portfolio and global reach.


The idea for Manuko was first conceived when its founder, Matt Hardie, saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the market for healthy and organic food. By 2012, he had turned a passion for health and wellbeing into a start-up enterprise making and selling organic food products from his apartment in Melbourne.

Bickford’s Australia

The Australian owned and operated Bickford’s Australia (Bickford’s) blends and bottles a renowned range of branded heritage cordials, juices, and syrups, along with more contemporary mixers and beverages. The business is on a continuous improvement journey to become a highly automated and high-speed filling, labelling, and packaging operation.

Report deep dives

Steel and Metal Businesses

Just 33% of Steel and Metal manufacturers and distributors have a good understanding of the Australian Government’s incoming mandatory sustainability reporting regime, while 46% have some understanding. More than other sectors, Steel and Metal businesses believe it will lead to significant shifts in business strategy.

Food and Beverage Business

For Food and drink businesses, top customer-initiated shifts include the need for lower prices, faster delivery and changes in order frequency and spend. Almost two in three expect continued changes to customer behaviour to have a medium or high impact in 2024.

Download the full Manufacturing Insights Report

Things you should know

  • The CommBank Manufacturing Insights research is based on a survey of 464 manufacturers and distributors across Australia conducted in February 2024. This includes 115 operating in the Food and Beverage sector. The research examines current and future financial and operational performance drivers to support decision-makers as they develop their growth strategies. The survey was undertaken by Fifth Quadrant on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank and the analysis was undertaken by Fifth Quadrant and Commonwealth Bank.

    The CommBank Manufacturing Insights Report (the research), has been published for general informational purposes only. As it has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and if necessary seek the appropriate professional advice. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of each publications compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations set forth are subject to change without notice. Any projections and forecasts are based on a number of assumptions and estimates and are subject to contingencies and uncertainties. Different assumptions and estimates could result in materially different results. The Commonwealth Bank does not accept any liability for loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of the research.