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A quarter of event budgets increase, but IPA downgrades spend forecast

Latest Bellwether Report reveals 23 per cent of event budgets were revised upwards in second quarter of 2016

Pictured: IPA Bellwether report author Paul Smith

Almost a quarter of corporates say event budgets were increased during the second quarter of 2016, according to the latest figures from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

The quarterly update from IPA’s Bellwether Report reveals a resurgence in spending, with 23 per cent of the survey’s 300 panellists indicating that event-related budgets were revised upwards during the period. Just one in 10 signalled a decline in the size of their event budgets, generating a net balance of 13.4 per cent growth – compared to 6 per cent in the first quarter of 2016. Yet, the Bellwether has downgraded spending forecasts due to economic uncertainty in the wake of the EU referendum. 

Although responses were gathered before the vote, the Bellwether indicated that 68 per cent of marketing budgets had been frozen, and spend had been shifted between sectors.

In line with economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, the IPA has downgraded its forecast for total ad spend to -0.2 per cent for 2016 and -1.3 per cent for 2017.

Report author Paul Smith, a senior economist at financial information analyst Markit, said: “An increased proportion of panellists indicated a freeze in budgets over the past three months.

“This observation gives credence to the notion that Brexit uncertainty was already impacting on decision-making, with an increased number of companies taking a cautious approach to budget setting, pushing marketing departments to utilise existing resources but concurrently asking them to meet goals of raising brand awareness and sales in an increasingly competitive environment.

“Marketing executives, their budgets and the wider industry inevitably seem set for a challenging period in the months ahead.”

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