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IPA Finance Director reacts to ICAEW Q1 Economic Forecast

Today’s ICAEW’s Q1 Economic Forecast paints a now-familiar picture of positive-but-declining confidence and economic overreliance on a mini-consumer boom with concerns about bigger-but-further-off issues like geopolitical instability (Russia, Syria, Brexit) and the Chinese economy increasing in prominence.


The ICAEW forecast notes a “cocktail of risks” for the UK economy including slowing investment growth and declining business confidence, suggesting the deficit will become a three-parliament problem.

On salaries, agencies’ single biggest cost category, the picture is mixed, with falling unemployment rates set to lead to inflation but pleateauing pay growth generally. 

The IPA’s own survey of business confidence, Bellwether, shows positive-but-waning optimism with UK marketers revising budgets up in Q4 2015, but to the smallest amount for nearly three years.

Similar themes emerged from an ad hoc IPA survey in January 2016 in which agency members reported overall optimism, albeit set against an ongoing squeeze between client demands and salary inflation. 

Says IPA Finance Director Tom Lewis: the continuing mixed outlook means agencies need to remain focused on the essentials of the advertising business:

  • Creating value; maintaining relevance and demonstrating value to clients
  • Delivering value; agile organisational structures and effective staff development
  • Capturing value; pricing as a core discipline with efficient cost structures

The IPA has thought-leadership resources for members in each of these areas:

Full information about the ICAEW forecast:


Last updated 11/03/2016

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