Blue banner saying 2023's biggest takeaways for business leaders, alongside an image of professionals collaborating together in a meeting room using Canva for Teams
  1. 2023’s top 5 takeaways for business leaders

2023’s top 5 takeaways for business leaders

From the powerful advancements in artificial intelligence to rapidly changing landscape shifts and the rise of visual communication, we’ve pulled together the biggest takeaways from 2023 for business leaders.


2023 has undoubtedly been a massive year for technology – and not just for Canva. From the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence(opens in a new tab or window) to shifts in how we work(opens in a new tab or window) and a rise in game-changing apps(opens in a new tab or window), it’s fair to say there have been huge changes and advancements in the past year. We’ve always strived to empower the whole world to design – and to truly achieve this, understanding the latest trends and innovations that are becoming table stakes for business leaders has never been more important.

This year, we spoke to a wide range of leaders across the globe to better understand the challenges and opportunities they’re facing in an increasingly visual world. Here are our biggest data-driven takeaways from 2023.

An image from the Visual Economy Report showing findings that visual communication is now a visual imperative.

Findings from Canva’s 2023 Visual Economy Report.

1. We’re living in a Visual Economy

But what does that really mean? Visual communication is increasingly the most effective form of communication. We surveyed 1,600 global business leaders, including marketing, sales, and HR practitioners, as part of our inaugural Visual Economy Report(opens in a new tab or window) to better understand how they’re embracing visuals in the workplace – and 89% said that visual communication tools contribute to the business’ return on investment (ROI).

Increasingly, information overload is a real challenge, and time, attention, and productivity are at an all-time premium. A further 89% said that communicating visually helps articulate ideas better. Communicating visually is key for cutting through the noise and engaging your customers, employees, and prospects. The takeaways(opens in a new tab or window) are clear: compelling visuals lead to greater engagement, fuel growth, and drive stronger business outcomes.

Image of a woman using Canva Websites to make easy, on-brand websites

2. The demand for visual content is unparalleled

Changes in how we work, a flood of new technologies, and shifts in digital content consumption have resulted in an appetite for visual content at a scale never seen before, creating new opportunities, but also new pain points(opens in a new tab or window) for marketers. We partnered with Ad Age to survey(opens in a new tab or window) a range of marketing, creative, and communications professionals, revealing that 75% are dealing with an increase in the volume and complexity of creative assets, all while turnaround times are being cut short.

Sixty-nine percent say their budgets have either shrunk or stayed the same since the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the increasing costs of creating engaging content. Marketers need to find new, visual-first ways to reach savvy consumers, as well as increase efficiencies without compromising brand consistency. It’s become essential to have access to an all-in-one creative platform to streamline workflows – and enterprises adopting Canva(opens in a new tab or window) are reaping benefits such as reduced bottlenecks for creative teams.

3. Design literacy is critical for all workplaces

Increased needs for visual outputs means design literacy(opens in a new tab or window) has become table stakes for an increasing number of roles – so championing this in the workplace is key for business leaders going into 2024. Our Visual Economy Report(opens in a new tab or window) revealed 95% of leaders expect employees to have design skills and knowledge – so expensive tooling that requires specialist skills is no longer a viable option for those looking to empower their teams.

Image of a man easily designing an on brand presentation on his computer using Canva Brand tools and Canva Presentations

There are other benefits to fostering design literacy in the workplace: major time and cost savings. A challenging macroeconomic environment means finding ways to do more with less is critical – but the hard truth is that brands have to create significant volumes of content daily, from social media to videos, presentations, emails, and infographics. We commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™(opens in a new tab or window) (TEI) study examining the potential return on investment ROI businesses may realize by adopting Canva Teams(opens in a new tab or window) – and the results were remarkable.

Forrester found Canva Teams provides benefits totaling USD 1.7M and an ROI of 438% over three years. In other words: every dollar spent on a Canva Teams subscription yields greater cost savings, increases team efficiency in content creation and collaboration, and fuels more efficient hiring practices. Some companies are creating 15 times more content in half the time(opens in a new tab or window).

Findings from Forrester Consulting’s Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study.

4. AI is now an essential part of the business toolkit

While we’ve invested in AI(opens in a new tab or window) at Canva for quite some time, we’ve been particularly interested in the impact the technology has on the workflows of marketers and creatives. Our Marketing & AI Report(opens in a new tab or window) took a deep dive into how AI is transforming the roles(opens in a new tab or window) of more than 4,000 global marketing and creative leaders – and the results showed tools are now an essential part of their toolkits.

Not only were 97% of those surveyed comfortable with the rise of generative AI because it allows them to do more with less, 70% agreed the tools enhanced their team's creativity, and 75% now consider gen AI an essential part of their creative toolkit. AI has emerged as a powerful way to win back time by streamlining everyday tasks and supercharging productivity – and we see the technology as a collaborative partner in the creative process, designed to elevate your designs(opens in a new tab or window) to even further heights.

5. We’re on the cusp of another revolution

AI isn’t just a gimmick; it’s here to stay. It’s a powerful tool that represents the future of technology, and with 69% of people surveyed in our Marketing & AI report(opens in a new tab or window) believing there are too many generative AI tools in a flooded marketplace – we’re proud to have brought the best of AI into one place(opens in a new tab or window). AI tools are a magnifying partner for human creativity, productivity, and capability – and it’s not exclusively reserved for marketers and consumers.

A collage image of all of Canva's magic AI tools and products

The impacts of AI will be felt for generations to come – and the technology is now playing a critical role in the classroom(opens in a new tab or window). Our recent AI in Education study(opens in a new tab or window) showed 60% of teachers agree AI has sparked innovative ideas to enhance student productivity, and 59% agree AI fosters creativity in their students. Soon, the next generation of customers will be AI natives – and businesses that fail to adopt and utilize the technologies will be left behind.

Survey results from Canva's AI in Education Survey showing that educators are already harnessing the power of AI in their teaching methods

Findings from Canva’s 2023 AI in Education study.

The future is just beginning

We’ve learned a lot from business leaders this year, and one theme remains clear: communicating visually is increasing team productivity and making creative work easy. Businesses that embrace visual tools and practices are future-proofing themselves for decades to come.

Interested in how your workplace can grow design literacy, streamline workflows, and supercharge creative outputs? Learn more about Canva Teams(opens in a new tab or window).


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