Communication consultancy is a booming business in Spain. More and more clients are demanding the services of these specialised companies, which are taking on services previously provided by other types of suppliers, such as marketing and advertising agencies, technology consultancies or public affairs firms.
Thanks in large part to this increase in their capacities, the large consultancy firms have been increasing their turnover figures by double digits in recent years, despite the macroeconomic difficulties. The largest of all is LLYC, which last year earned 89 million euros globally, a 39% increase. It is followed by Atrevia, with 36 million (+29%). Other firms that have recorded significant growth are (+45%), Apple Tree (+25%) and MARCO (+17%).
The total turnover of all the communication consultancy firms in Spain last year was 455 million euros, according to Scopen’s estimates, reflected in a study promoted by ADC. This represents an increase of 33% compared to the previous study, which dates back to 2020. Scopen has arrived at this figure after interviewing some 50 communication firms. The good health of the sector is a global phenomenon: in 2022, communication consultancy reached a volume of more than 20,000 million dollars, a 9% increase.
According to the Scopen study, the average turnover of the consultancy firms analysed was 4.3 million euros, 14% more than two years ago. The business fabric of this sector is characterised by its fragmentation and is dominated by small and medium-sized companies. In fact, only 7% of those analysed by Scopen have a turnover of more than 6 million euros. In other words, around ten companies have a turnover of more than 6 million euros in Spain.
The average revenue of communications firms in Spain is 4.3 million euros, according to a study by Scopen for ADC.
The consultancy firms’ largest line of business continues to be corporate communications, which accounted for 22% of total business. Brand communication (20%) also accounts for a large share of the results. At a certain distance behind are other strong disciplines, such as content marketing (8.5%), creativity (7.9%) and lobbying (6.4%).
Thanks to this general improvement in business, almost all of the firms surveyed (98%) have hired staff in the past year. And most of the time, on a full-time basis. The industry average is to have added 12 new employees to their companies during 2022. In total, the sector added almost 600 professionals last year.
Expectations for the current year are equally positive. Eight out of ten consultancy firms expect to increase their turnover by between 5% and 30% in 2023. Fourteen percent believe that their revenues will remain stable and virtually none have stated that their business will shrink.
For Ludi García, head of Iberia at MARCO, these figures confirm that “our contribution to the growth of companies and their executives is very important”. “We are the guardians of their reputation”, she said in a debate following the presentation of the results of the study. And he supported the positive evolution of companies in the sector in the assumption of services that until recently they did not provide, such as marketing or public affairs.
On the other hand, Luis Miguel Peña, CEO of LLYC in Europe, was somewhat “sceptical” about the growth shown in the study and warned that there is still a tendency to “commoditise” the communication consultancy service, which, he said, should no longer be seen as “a temporary employment company” that covers the outsourcing of a department. Instead, “it should be seen as a consultancy for difficult moments or opportunities in companies, as happens when you hire an investment bank for an IPO”.