Four in 10 agencies say client budgets rose significantly in Q2, says PRCA survey

The latest PRCA Consultancy Barometer paints a generally optimistic picture of trading among UK PR agencies, with 41 per cent of agency chiefs saying clients marginally or significantly increased their budgets in Q2 2018.

The research, which is based on the responses of around 50 PR agency bosses, found 39 per cent said budgets had stayed the same. Only four per cent said they decreased significantly.

In addition, 67 per cent of agency heads described the last quarter as busy or very busy, compared to 13 per cent who described it as quiet or very quiet.

More than half (56 per cent) said they felt more optimistic about their consultancy (less optimistic: six per cent). Fifty-eight per cent expect staff numbers to increase in Q3, with just two per cent expecting them to decrease.

They were less optimistic about the sector as a whole, however – 36 per cent of agency bosses felt more optimistic about the wider PR and communications industry, with eight per cent saying they felt less optimistic about the industry.

Elsewhere, 43 per cent of agency chiefs felt over-servicing levels stayed the same in the quarter; 28 per cent thought it increased marginally, and 21 per cent that it decreased marginally.

With uncertainty around the UK’s impending exit from the EU, views about the future of the economy were not clear cut. Fifty per cent of agency heads predict the economy will worsen over the next 12 months, while eight per cent said it would improve and 28 per cent said it would stay the same.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham said: "Pretty much since the Brexit referendum two years ago, the picture has remained constant - despite concerns about the wider economy, agency heads are confident about their futures, and about the future of the industry in which they work. Looking back on a decade and more of relentless growth, that optimism seems entirely warranted. The PR and communications industry is in excellent shape, and perfectly placed to continue its upward trajectory."

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