Bellwether: Event budgets grow amid growing uncertainty

Event marketing budgets increased by +4.9% in the first quarter of 2017, although growth is beginning to slow, according to the latest Bellwether report.

Event budgets grow amid growing uncertainty
Event budgets grow amid growing uncertainty

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's (IPA) Q1 2017 Bellwether report, released today (19 April), shows that events marketing budgets have experienced growth for the 13th successive quarter.

However, there has been a noticeable slowdown. Last year's Q4 2016 report showed an increase of +12.3% in events spend, compared to this quarter's increase of +4.9% – the lowest reading recorded by the survey since the end of 2015. While nearly 21% of panellists indicated growth, around 16% indicated a contraction.

Looking ahead  

The Bellwether reports states that the industry should expect upward revisions for budgets throughout the coming financial year, with final data showing that a net balance of +10.6% are predicting growth for 2017 and 2018. 

Other findings

The strongest increases were in Internet and main media advertising, with the Internet sector recording its highest growth in just under four years – the net balance in budget rose to +16.9%, from Q4 2016’s +12.1%. Main media advertising jumped up to +10.7%, showing a significant rise from +5.1% in the final quarter of 2016. Direct marketing budgets increased – the net balance rose from 0.0% to +5.3%. Mobile-based advertising picked up, with a net balance of +10.3% (Q4 2016: +3.9%). 

Financial prospects 

Latest data revealed an improvement in company financial prospects, with over 32% of the survey panel indicating positive financial prospects. The degree of confidence remains much lower compared to levels seen over the 2013-2015 period.

Paul Smith, senior economist at IHS Markit, said: "The Q1 2017 Bellwether survey paints a picture of a solidly growing UK economy,with companies continuing to show a willingness to commit increased resources to marketing and capitalise on current positive sales trends. Given the prevailing backdrop of Brexit-related economic uncertainties, a key question is whether the resilience in spend shown post referendum can be maintained. At present, marketers seem confident, with both sentiment around their own company financial prospects and budgets for the year ahead remaining inside positive territory.

"But perhaps reflect of the relative limbo we find ourselves in ahead of the start of negotiations between Britain and the EU, degrees of confidence remain historically low and panellists continue to note plenty of threats to the outlook."

Click here for industry reaction: Agencies Momentum Worldwide, FreemanXP, Muster and Brand & Deliver discuss the findings of today's Bellwether report. 

More: Bellwether: record high increase for event marketing

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