Publicis organic growth jumps 5.3% in Q1

Groupe says growth driven by 'new business tailwinds' with a 'clear rebound in the tech sector'.

Publicis organic growth jumps 5.3% in Q1

Publicis Groupe has revealed it has achieved 5.3% organic growth to €3.2 billion ($3.4 billion) in Q1 2024.

Chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun said “continued new business tailwinds” and “a clear rebound in the tech sector”, which both saw double-digital growth in the quarter, contributed to Q1’s strong performance. 

The group also, he said, was able to "capture a disproportionate part" of increasing demand for marketing transformation, with double-digit growth for data-marketing business Epsilon and Publicis Media.

One area which continues to be squeezed for the group is its broader business consultancy work on digital business transformation, led by Publicis Sapient, which reported a "sequential improvement" of 1.1% globally due to a slowdown in client spend.

However, the group said it was confident of a return to stronger growth for Sapient this year.

The group restated its forecast for the year ahead, predicting organic growth of between 4% and 5% set at its full year 2023 earnings.

Looking ahead to Q2 2024, Publicis stated it “expects solid organic growth within the full year range”.

Results by region

Geographically, Latin America reported the strongest level of organic growth for the quarter at 7.8%, followed by 6.2% in Asia-Pacific and 6.2% in Europe. 

Contributing the lion's share of net revenue, North America saw 4.8% organic growth to €2 billion ($2.15 billion) compared to €1.9 billion ($2 billion) in Q1 2023.

Middle East and Africa reported 4% organic growth from €88 million ($94 million) to €90 million ($96.5 million).

In the UK, creative and media both enjoyed double-digit growth, atlhough overall growth was only “slightly positive” because of a negative Publicis Sapient against a tough year-on-year comparison.

Some of Publicis Groupe’s biggest UK wins of the past 18 months have included John Lewis Partnership, which Saatchi & Saatchi snapped up in May last year, and Morrisons, won by Leo Burnett in December 2022.

In January, Leo Burnett won Vodafone’s UK creative account and Allwyn opted to split its creative between Leo Burnett and VCCP, which will show returns later in 2024. 

Globally, in the first quarter, the group also expanded its remit with Pfizer, to include the pharma giant’s creative.

Share price hits new record

Publicis, which is the first of the global agency groups to report Q1 results, was the top performer among the “big six” holding companies in 2023 and it said 5.3% growth was “ahead of expectations” and is further proof that the group has “extracted itself from the pack”.

Publicis’ growth rate is likely to be 400 basis points or 4% better than rivals in Q1, according to the company’s investor presentation.

The agency group said it is taking market share from rivals and cited three reasons for its "confidence" – high demand for personalisation at scale, new business momentum and its agile platform organisation.

WPP has already forecast its 2024 growth will be between zero and 1% and warned Q1 was likely to be its toughest quarter.

Publicis’ share price, which broke the €100 barrier for the first time at the end of March, rose more than 1% to touch a new high above €102 in early trading following the Q1 results.

Campaign UK

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