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|Advertising - the bellwether industry|
WPP’s revenues were up by 7pc to £2.223bn in the first quarter of this year.
The company said the pattern of revenue growth in 2011 has started similarly to the second half of 2010, with improvements across all sectors and geographies.
“In 2010 we were surprised at the speed of the recovery in the more mature markets of the United States and Germany and more traditional media, like free-to-air television,” the company said in a statement.
“This pattern has continued into the first quarter of 2011, although as indicated in the budgets for this year, the faster growing markets of Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe are growing even faster. They were last into the recession and last out.”
The company said the BRIC countries and the Next 11, or CIVETS, are generally showing strongest growth, followed by the United States and Germany, then the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain. It said Japan is weakest, suffering from years of stagnation and now triple hit by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.
In the first quarter, revenue growth in the United Kingdom, on a constant currency basis, was up 7.7pc with Western Continental Europe up 2.2pc and Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe growing at 12.6pc. WPP said the Western Continental Europe region remains the most challenging.
According to WPP, the Middle East market has been affected by the current political turmoil in the first quarter, growing only 1.5pc. Central and Eastern Europe grew at 9.1pc, driven primarily by Russia and Poland, with the combined revenues in these two markets up over 13pc. Latin America grew 10.4pc on a constant currency basis, but 16.7pc, like-for-like, following the disposal of a call centre business in Argentina in September 2010.
Asia Pacific was up 12.5pc on a constant currency basis and excluding Japan (which was flat) was up 13.8pc, with all the group’s major markets, except Malaysia, showing strong growth. Two of the group’s biggest markets in Asia, mainland China and India showed combined growth of 18.4pc, versus 12.5pc in 2010.
By sector, advertising and media investment management continued to recover with revenues on a constant currency basis up 12.9pc, followed by branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications (including direct, digital and interactive) up 7.9pc.
The group’s direct and interactive networks of Wunderman and OgilvyOne, together with specialist digital agencies VML and JWT Inside showed strong growth. Public relations and public affairs, meanwhile, experienced growth of 5.6pc.