Publicis defies darkening economic picture with 10.3% Q3 organic growth

Publicis Groupe has reported its third strong quarter of organic growth, up 10.3% to end September. This follows double digit returns in the first half of the year.

Once again the star performers were data businesses Publicis Sapient (up 18.1%) and Epsilon (13.9%.) The US (now Publicis’ biggest market) and Europe were the standout regional performers, both on 11.1%. Publicis is now predicting 8.5% organic growth for the year, which still looks conservative.

Much could change, of course, and the global economy has taken a decided turn for the worse since September as the Ukraine war rumbles on, inflation accelerates and financial markets enter a period of turmoil.

CEO Arthur Sadoun (above) says: “In an increasingly uncertain global economic context, organic growth for the quarter was ahead of expectations at +10.3%.

“For the third quarter in a row, our model allowed us to deliver double digit growth by once again capturing the evolution in client spend towards first-party data management, digital media and business transformation…all of our regions posted solid organic growth, with both the US and Europe at +11.1%, and China at +5.9% despite the ongoing lockdowns there.

“Furthermore, our new business record continues to place us at the top of industry rankings on a 12-month basis, well ahead of competition.

“Our Q3 numbers are clearly encouraging. But what really stands out is our performance versus pre-pandemic levels. Compared to 2019, we’ve seen our organic growth accelerate to +16% in Q3. This demonstrates our ability to more than withstand the ups and downs of the global economy, and makes us confident in our ability to face ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties.”

Publicis is giving an extra week’s pay to employees on fixed term contracts.

So far so good for Publicis whose big bets on data (Epsilon cost $4.4m) seem to have paid off. Sadoun will still have concerns though, very likely about his UK agencies who are facing a more turbulent last quarter of the year than most.

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