Archive for the ‘Credit Crunch’ Category
B2B International’s consistent growth continued in 2009 despite the difficult economic environment. The company’s turnover increased by 10% and is now approaching the £3.5 million mark (over US$5 million). B2B International has experienced year-on-year growth in every year since its formation in 1998.
“2009 was a challenging time throughout the market research sector” reports Financial Director Matthew Harrison. “Budgets in some industries were cut, and some of our clients were forced to delay projects due to the economic uncertainty. However, the main trend in 2009 was a change in the type of business we conducted. Many clients moved away from international market assessment studies towards more ‘defensive’ research such as customer satisfaction surveys. Towards the end of the year, however, this trend was reversed, and early 2010 has seen huge interest in our Chinese and wider Asian offering.”
Looking forward to 2010, Managing Director Nick Hague is optimistic about the prospects for B2B International. “It is clear that our clients across Europe, North America and Asia are feeling more positive about the future and there has been a significant upturn in enquiries and commissions since around September 2009. Our proximity to clients and research respondents across three continents means that we are ideally placed to take advantage as optimism returns.”
Market research revenues in Germany fell by 5% last year, according to figures provided by 151 German agencies to industry publication Context – the total revenue of those taking part amounting to €2.08 billion.
According to Context, fewer agencies agreed to provide figures for 2009 than did for 2008, probably because of disappointing results. Of the agencies that did take part, 54% reported a fall in revenue and 17% saw a rise.
In spite of staff cuts at many agencies, the total number of permanent employees in the German market research industry was actually up overall – yet revenue per employee was down for the third year running.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, market research revenues were estimated to be down 4% last year, according to industry association Simar. Based on preliminary figures from 22 research agencies in the country, 2009 total revenue was put at Kc2.2 billion (£73.2 million).
Brighter news for 2010, though, with predictions that the industry will return to 2008 levels (Kc2.3 billion or £76.6 million). Most agencies surveyed expect their revenues this year to be the same or higher than they were in 2009.
Everybody knows that 2009 was a tough year, with marketing budgets in particular feeling the strain. Yet things are looking more promising for 2010 already – and on both sides of the Atlantic!
A survey conducted at the end of 2010 in the United States showed good news for marketers after a year in which 60% of b-to-b marketers slashed their budgets. BtoB’s “2010 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans” report, based on an online survey of 376 B2B marketers, found that although almost half plan to maintain their existing budgets, nearly 40% will increase spending in 2010. Just 13% will be reducing their marketing spend this year.
As with last year, online marketing – including website development, e-mail marketing, search, social media, online video and webcasts – looks set to see the biggest boosts. This medium is widely acknowledged as being both cost-effective and measurable. Spending on innovative direct marketing and customer events both look set to rise also. More about this report can be found here.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the latest IPA/BDO Bellwether report indicates that optimism and confidence are growing. In spite of the report showing a ninth consecutive quarter of declining marketing spend, the rate of decline is clearly slowing. Spend is down only 7% compared to 15% in the previous quarter.
Indeed, marketing budgets for 2010 have been set higher than those in 2009 and, with 35% of businesses surveyed seeing improved prospects, companies are the most optimistic they have been for the past five years.
As with the trends seen in the US, online advertising budgets were revised upwards for the second quarter running while direct marketing budgets have also increased (by 2.2%) for the first time since 2007.
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Following Monday’s blog entry we can report that recent market research by B2B International shows that London’s entrepreneurs are more optimistic for 2010
London’s small businesses report that the recession is now having less of an impact on their business and levels of optimism and resilience remain high after the final quarter of the year, according to Business Link in London’s latest Business Confidence Index carried out by B2B International.
Although 69% of entrepreneurs tell us they are still affected by the recession, the impact is less significant – only 13% reporting they are extremely affected. This is a significant drop from 21% in July 2009.
The quarterly business confidence Index measures business sentiment of over 3,300 small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
This unique survey takes into account variations such as industry sector, sub-regional location, business types and business ownership (gender, Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME), Deaf and disabled).
Commenting on the Index, Patrick Elliott, Chief Executive of Business Link in London said: “Small businesses have always been resilient during times of economic upheaval due to their ability to adapt quickly. This flexibility, combined with their survival strategies and optimism, are likely to have shielded some businesses from the full force of the recession.”
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: “For the second week running another survey shows London’s small businesses can see light at the end of the tunnel. We have been working hard on their behalf and it is rewarding to see this sustained growth in confidence and to hear that, as we start turning the corner, our businesses are optimistic for the future.”
Mr Elliott continued: “However, entrepreneurs are not yet immune to the continuing tough economic climate. A note of caution is necessary to manage the months ahead.”
Reduced customer spending and sales generation are still key problems faced by established businesses. However, their impact on businesses has dropped significantly with only 20% concerned with customer spend in October, compared to 36% in July.
The food and drink sector is fairing better than it was in July due to increased customer spend. However, we are seeing a gloomier picture for the retail sector as customers cut back on purchases.
Declining profits and sales and cashflow constraints top the list of business activities hardest hit by the recession.
More home businesses are optimistic than ever before. They are telling us that they are marginally less affected by the recession than other business types (42% vs. 44%) and that they’re inclined to be slightly more optimistic about their overall future (17% vs. 14%).
Growth and optimism remain high on the agenda for the majority of those surveyed. The number of businesses looking to grow has increased from over half (59%) in February, to 63% in October. Levels of optimism remain unchanged since July (73% vs. 75%) with almost three quarters of those surveyed continuing to be optimistic about their overall business success.
“This cautious optimism is exactly what we advocate. The Index shows that entrepreneurs are refusing to get bogged down in the doom and gloom. Their strategies to tackle the worst impact of the recession are paying dividends,” continued Mr Elliott.
Online sales and trading have emerged as popular choices for growth over the next twelve months, making their way into the top 5 strategies considered. Despite this, increased marketing remains the top tactic favoured by businesses.
The manufacturing and property sectors are least likely to grow which suggests that they are simply concentrating on survival.
Two in five respondents are not planning on making further changes to their business to deal with the recession, an increase of 16% since July (40% vs. 24%). This is further evidence that businesses feel closer to recovery.
If you are a London based business and interested in taking part in the next quarterly Business Confidence Index then please e-mail: email@example.com
A new survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has found UK marketers to be ‘quietly confident’ about the UK economy and their companies’ prospects over the next year.
The survey of 1,200 marketers discovered that 51% of respondents think business will improve over the next 12 months; just 16% expect conditions to deteriorate.
In terms of the marketing activities felt to offer the greatest return on investment, CRM topped the pile with 21% of marketers feeling it delivers the best return. 12% opted for online advertising, 11% chose email marketing, and a further 11% felt public relations offered the greatest ROI. Advertising (excluding online) was considered to offer the least return on marketing investment.
36% of the respondents said that the economic downturn had created new business opportunities for their company – a figure which rises from 28% in the previous study six months ago.
All in all, sales performances and marketing spend appear to be on the up, with redundancies going down, all of which is positive news. However, a word of caution – there’s still a good way to go before the figures return to the levels of before the economic crisis began.