Minnie Wang
Mar 28, 2023

Ebiquity: expect more reviews and pitches in China in 2023

TOP OF THE CHARTS: Covid and related restrictions delayed many media account reviews in 2022, which is why the media consultancy expects a resurgence in 2023.

Zenith's PepsiCo win was the biggest media prize in China in 2022.
Zenith's PepsiCo win was the biggest media prize in China in 2022.

Source: This is a forecast produced by Ebiquity. It reveals data about media account reviews and agency pitches in China in the year of 2022 and predicts increases in reviews and pitches in 2023.

Three key findings:

1. Advertisers delayed their reviews and pitches to 2023. Data from the COMvergence New Business Barometer shows a 27% decline to 122 total account reviews and pitches in China in 2022, when lockdowns affected both consumer behaviour and brand operations.

2. In times of change, brands stuck with the agencies they knew. Retention rates were higher in 2022 at 25%, compared to 16% in 2021 and 15% in 2020, respectively. Ebiquity attributes this partially to remote reviews and pitches during the lockdown, where differentiation can be more difficult and therefore favour incumbent agencies. Nonethess, China’s retention rate is still significantly behind the global average of 35%.

3. Total media spend under review was down. The COMvergence Barometer also shows the total media spend reviewed in pitches decreased by 4% from RMB 26.3 billion (USD 3.82 billion) to RMB 25.2 billion (USD 3.67 billion), while in 2021, total account move and pitch spend increased by 10% compared with 2020.

Rankings of Chinese media wins in 2022:

  • 1. PepsiCo: reported billings of RMB 2 billion ($291 million), moved from Mindshare to Zenith in Q1.
  • 2. Yili's TV buying: reported billings of RMB 1.5 billion ($216 million), moved from Mindshare to OMD in Q4.
  • 3. Vitasoy: reported billings of RMB 412 million ($60 million), moved from Carat to PHD. 
  • No.1 in new business value among international holding groups was Publicis Media, won 7 accounts and retained 6 businesses.
  • No. 2 was GroupM with 30 wins and defended 16 reviews.
  • No.3 was OMG ranks with 14 wins and defended Yili digital buy, SC Johnson and Beiersdorf. 
  • In terms of net billing gain, OMG was No.1, earning RMB2,965 million ($430 million).
  • Publicis Media was No.2, securing RMB2,064 million ($300 million).
  • No.3 was Havas Media, with a net billing gain of RMB 296 million ($43 million).
  • GroupM experienced a loss of RMB289 million ($42 million), losing key clients such as PepsiCo and Yili TV buy.
  • Zenith was the best-performing media agency, with a net billing gain of RMB2,546 million ($370 million) in 2022. It won four accounts, lost one and retained five reviews.
  • OMD was No.2 with a net new business gain of  RMB2,085 million ($303 million), won eight clients (Key wins are Yili TV buy, Burberry and Florasis Media Plan) without loss.
  • Wavemaker was No.3, with a net billing gain of RMB949 million ($138 million) and 19 wins (Key wins were Suning Kuailegou, LeapMotor and Under Armour. based on data from COMvergence.  
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Top of the Charts: Key data at a glance


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