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WPP says corporate marketing spend is showing increasing resilience

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WPP PLC (LON:WPP) said it has enjoyed a strong start to 2021, with all its top five advertising markets growing in the first quarter compared to last year.

The FTSE 100 group said client marketing services spend as a whole was showing “increasing resilience” this year, despite ongoing uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. 

Group revenue less pass-through costs of £2.3bn was 3.1% on a like-for-like basis, with positive progress across all business sectors led by a 7.5% improvement from Specialist Agencies.

With new assignments from Absolut, JP Morgan Chase and Salesforce, a total of US$1.3bn of net new business was secured, adding to US$4.4bn across the whole of last year.

Of the FTSE 100 marketing group’s top markets, the US was up 0.7%, the UK 3.9%, Germany 2.5% and China storming back with a 18.4% rebound on the coronavirus-hit quarter of 2020.

The exception was India, currently ravaged by a new wave of the virus and with WPP’s revenue down 0.5%.

Management reported “good progress” on strategic plans, including the launch today of a new global data company, named Choreograph.

It will focus on helping clients with an area of increasingly demand – realising the value of data and optimising its use.

The outlook was unchanged from the last guidance given, for mid-single-digit organic growth.

WPP shares were up 2.6% to 975.8p in early trading.

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