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Group CEO, Patrick Reid, shares his thoughts on the IPA Q3 Bellwether Report

22 October 2020

Our Group CEO, Patrick Reid, shares his thoughts on the Q3 2020 Bellwether Report as UK marketing budgets continue to contract amid impact of COVID-19.

"Whilst it is no surprise that the events industry continues to feel the shockwaves of the pandemic, it has clearly shown the opportunity for experiences to reach outside of the communications’ silo of marketing, beyond the stunts and spectaculars that have become the playbook of comms-driven experiential, and into product and proposition. We anticipate an eventual positive recovery, and already see more brands leaning on businesses like ours to help design valuable new customer experiences. Ultimately this approach leads to an increase in the lifetime value of current customers and underpinning next-generation products, services and business models that will be built on the new consumer behaviours and expectations that emerge in the years to come."

Patrick Reid

Group CEO, Imagination

From the IPA Bellwether Report:

The COVID-19 outbreak and resulting restrictions on businesses have led IHS Markit, the Bellwether authors, to forecast steep declines for a number of key economic indicators during 2020. Following temporary closures for many firms during the second quarter of the year, as well as ongoing capacity constraints due to social distancing measures, it foresees a -11.2% contraction in GDP during 2020 as a whole. The threat of a widespread second wave of infections also poses a significant downside risk to this forecast. A further sharp increase in case numbers could lead to a fresh lockdown and additional economic hardship unaccounted for by our current estimate.

Assuming restrictions remain at their current level of stringency, it foresees a -13.2% reduction in consumer spending and a -20.0% decline in business investment during 2020. These figures correspond to a Bellwether forecast of a -23.3% fall in adspending for the year as a whole.

Looking forward, IHS Markit anticipates a robust recovery in economic conditions during 2021, as firms continue to adapt to a ‘new normal’. This would translate to a +4.6% expansion in GDP and a Bellwether forecast of a +11.3% rise in adspending during 2021, followed by a steady trend towards long-term growth rates. These outcomes, however, hinge largely on positive outcomes regarding the evolution of the pandemic and the development of Brexit negotiations before the end of the transition period at the end of this year.