Publicis bounces back in 2021 with 10% organic growth

Publicis Group delivered the goods in 2021 with organic revenue up 10% on Covid-battered 2020, up3% on the more meaningful 2019 including 5.3% in Q4.

Data businesses Epsilon and Publicis Sapient were the standouts with 2021 performance at +12.8% and +13.8% respectively. Publicis is predicting between 4-5% overall in 2022.

Uncle Arthur Sadoun (below) is giving 35,000 employees on non-variable contracts one-week’s additional salary. Publicis grew in all regions.

CEO Sadoun says: “In 2021, Publicis published record numbers and exceeded 2019 levels across all of its KPIs.

“We delivered +10% full year organic growth, with Q4 at +9.3%, above expectations, and a strong performance across all of our regions.

“Both Epsilon and Publicis Sapient were accretive to our full year growth, at +12.8% and +13.8% respectively, as we were in a position to capture the structural shifts in the industry towards first-party data management, digital media, commerce, and business transformation.

“Looking at our performance on a two-year basis, we exceeded 2019 levels faster and more strongly than expected, at 3% growth for the full year that accelerated to 5% in the second half. The U.S., where our model is the most advanced, was a strong contributor to this performance, growing +8% versus 2019.

“2021 was a record year not just financially, but also commercially. For the third time in the past four years, we topped the New Business rankings as league tables placed us well-ahead of the pack, with landmark wins including Stellantis, Walmart, and Meta, to name just a few. We also started 2022 on a high note, with the win of McDonald’s U.S.”

Publicis is the first of the big ad holding companies to report and it’s set the bar pretty high. A forecast of 4-5% organic growth in 2022 looks a tad modest, certainly in comparison to stocks like Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4Capital, but Publicis is much bigger with lots of legacy businesses as well as go-go tech operators Epsilon and Sapient.

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