While many agencies experienced cuts in fees from existing clients, data gathered by agency submissions to the Top 150 shows many clients ceased to spend at all - the PR market shrank by two per cent in terms of client numbers.
In 2000, the Top 150 serviced 6,568 clients, while last year the same agencies shared 6,429 clients - showing 139 clients withdrew their PR budgets for outsourced support during the year.
Weber Shandwick has extended its lead of the table by more than £10m from its nearest rival, Citigate Dewe Rogerson.
WSW's merger last October with 2001's sixth-placed firm BSMG Worldwide accounted for most of the agency's improved standing but the combined company still registered a fall of 17 per cent in fee income to £41.2m.
Second-placed CDR dropped in fee income by six per cent with £31.2m, managing to hold onto its place for another year.
WPP flagship Hill & Knowlton retained third place as the best performer in the top five, with a growth rate of zero per cent. Chime's Bell Pottinger Communications and Omnicom's Countrywide Porter Novelli shrunk by -6 and -1 per cent respectively.
Total staffing figures fell in 2001, in line with the fall in clients.
Last year there were 7,488 people employed in the Top 150 consultancies, a fall of more than 500 compared to the 7,902 consultants employed in 2000 when the consultancy sector was at its most buoyant.
Top 150 supplement inside