WPP believes focus on consumer insight/new tech the way forward

WPP’s growth slowed in Q3 and the group, which includes agency networks such as JWT, Ogilvy & Mather and Mindshare, is cautious about the next quarter.

Sir Martin Sorrell

It saw weakness in its third quarter “particularly in September and in North America and Continental Europe and functionally in advertising and media investment management and public relations and public affairs”.

WPP’s says: “The three maxi-quadrennial events of 2012, the UEFA Football Championships in Central and Eastern Europe, the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London and last, but not least, the US Presidential elections in November did underpin industry growth but not, perhaps, as much as was thought, with money being switched from existing budgets, particularly in the cases of the UEFA Championships and Olympics.

It says that early indications suggests its revenues in the final quarter of the year will grow less than in the third quarter. Reported revenues for Q3 rose 1.6% to £2.496 billion

However, the group believes it will continue to outperform in its sector “due to its geographically superior position in new markets” and because of its focus on new media and consumer insight, including data analytics and application of new technology. Overall like for like revenues rose 1.9 per cent.

The company forecasts continued softness for Q4 with a slight improvement in the Asia Paciifc region. It suggests it will enjoy overall like-for-like full year revenue growth of 2.5 to 3 percent.

The company is cautious about 2013 due to a lack of significant “maxi-quadrennnial” global events but believes 2014 will be stronger and says: “2014 looks a better prospect, however, with the World Cup in Brazil, the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the mid-term Congressional elections in the United States.

“The first two events will continue to reposition Brazil and Latin America and Russia and Central and Eastern Europe in the world’s mind, just like the Beijing Olympics did for China and Asia and the World Cup did for South Africa and the continent of Africa.

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