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Event budgets post sluggish growth as 2015 closes

Although 19 per cent of events spend budgets wer revised upwards, 18 per cent fell, says IPA Bellwether report
14/01/2016

Pictured: Imagination creative strategy director Paul Simonet

Growth in event budgets slowed down in the final quarter of 2015 as wider economic concerns took hold.

The latest Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Bellwether Report reveals that marketing budgets related to events were revised upwards for the ninth consecutive quarter in its poll of 300 UK corporates. But the rate of growth has softened, as although 19 per cent of respondents registered growth, 18 per cent witnessed a contraction.

Optimism regarding marketers’ own financial prospects and their wider industries also remained subdued during the final quarter of 2015, reflecting the rate of UK economic expansion in the second half of the year. A net balance of 20 per cent of companies indicated they had grown more optimistic about their own prospects compared to three months previously, down from 22 per cent earlier in the year, and the lowest recorded in 11 quarters.

Paul Simonet, Imagination’s creative strategy director, said: “The ninth consecutive quarter of growth and the role of experience in many brands’ Christmas and New Year strategies are encouraging, but the events and experiences sector needs to focus on long term connected experiences that integrate with all elements of brand communication.”

There is good news on the horizon however, noted the report. A balance of 24 per cent of the panel signalled growth in their total budgets for the coming year.

Paul Smith, senior economist at Markit and author of the Bellwether report, added: “As has been the case in the post-financial crisis world, companies are maintaining a keen sense of cost-consciousness and a value-for-money approach to their marketing budgets. Such forces have probably weighed on growth in the final quarter of the year.

“However, given that the current run of expansion now extends to over three years, by far the best in the 16-year survey history, our gaze remains firmly fixed on the positive aspects of the survey especially the marked upturn in budgets planned by marketing executives for 2016/17. We therefore wait to see if Q4 2015 proves to be a nadir in the current cycle or whether we have a little way to go before we again see a sustained upward trajectory in Bellwether.”


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