International PR sector is in good health with double digit growth in 2010.
The international public relations (PR) consultancy sector grew bigger and stronger in 2010 and is expected to grow again in 2011, according to the latest World Report from the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO).
The world’s two largest markets for public relations – the US and the UK – both rebounded from a five percent decline in fee income in 2009 to record a double – digit recovery in 2010. US consultancies posted an average 11% increase in overall fee revenue, while the UK saw a 13% increase.
Western European countries saw more modest growth or nearly unchanged conditions (from 1% to 3.5%), though the Nordics and Central and Eastern European countries fared better, with average growth ranging from 5% to 12% for the year. Belgium outperformed its neighbours with 10% growth, mostly driven by work for and around the European Parliament and Commission. Croatia and Ireland were the big exceptions, with fees shrinking by close to 15% each on the back of public and private spending cuts in 2010.
Brazil and Russia pushed ahead with 23% and 17% increases in revenues respectively, supported by strong economic expansion in their countries. Australia grew by approximately 10%, fuelled by the increasing internationalisation of public relations activities.
In 2010, consumer marketing communications accounted for one-third of PR consultancy revenues in the UK. They also contributed to growth in the US, where healthcare, corporate and crisis communications were the other main sources of revenue. The same four service areas drove growth throughout Europe, aided by work in public affairs and media relations.
For 2011, digital and social media services, corporate communications, crisis management and public affairs are reported by a majority to be expanding, while revenues from event management services are in decline.
The energy sector represents an important source of growth for PR consultancy in 17 surveyed countries, and healthcare in 11. The financial industry is listed as a growing source of business in nine countries (including the US and UK), though Italy, Portugal and Turkey view this as one of the industries with the worst prospects for the year.
The public sector looks especially promising in eight countries but has low potential in another four, namely where recent spending cuts are still taking effect (Austria, Ireland, Italy and the UK). As for the least promising industries overall, retail tops the list, followed by automotive and real estate.
Demand for digital services rose internationally in 2010. As a percentage of overall fee income for PR consultancies, these services remained relatively small (ranging from 5 to 20%) but show an increase over 2009. Surveyed countries overwhelmingly expect demand for digital services to increase again over the course of 2011. More and more, marketers are requesting digital services that include social media expertise, and a large majority of PR consultancies have already integrated these services into their offering.
All countries surveyed in the World Report expect conditions to be as good or better in 2011 than in 2010. 20 out of 24 predict outright growth this year of up to 20%, while the remaining four predict that fee revenues will remain the same or increase slightly.
Commenting on the report’s findings, ICCO President, Richard Houghton said; “Clearly 2008 and 2009 were very tough for the consultancy sector internationally, but this report gives solid reasons to take a positive outlook for 2011 and beyond. The growing demand for digital and social media services, combined with lean consultancies as a result of the downturn, means we are well placed to benefit from what economic growth there is and the associated demand for communications services and support.”
Elena Fadeeva, chairwoman of the Board of the Russian Association of Communications Consultancies (AKOS) and General Director of Fleishman-Hillard Vanguard: «According to ICCO’s report in 2010 the public relations sector in our country grew by 17%. In 2011, more active 20% growth is expected. Mainly public relations services will be required in FMCG, energy sector, finances, healthcare, high tech and Government sector. The most precious agencies in Russia today provide its clients with wide range of services, use innovation technologies in communications and operate according to international ethic norms and quality standards, that is due to global tendencies.»
The ICCO Annual World Report has been publishing by the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) for seven years and includes data from national PR trade associations in 24 countries spanning Europe, North and South America and Asia-Pacific. ICCO analyzes the current condition and the tendencies of the global PR sector and determines trends of revenues on PR market that is measured in total royalties of agencies forming ICCO.
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in twenty-eight countries across the globe: from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent close to 1,500 PR firms.
The Russian Association of Communications Consultancies is the Russian department of ICCO and it is consisted of 29 national organizations. All over the world membership in ICCO is a well-known sign of professionalism, high quality of work and ethic standards.