Designers bullish about 2014 with strong revenue growth predictions

A survey of design consultancy predictions for 2014 shows that not a single respondent expects revenues to fall.

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Source: JD Mack

The Kingston Smith W1 Outlook Survey saw managing and finance directors across all marketing disciplines – including design – quizzed by the accountant about what they thought would happen this year.

The survey shows that more than half of respondents predicted revenue growth of 0-10 per cent, almost a quarter predicted growth of 11-20 per cent and the same number said revenues would stay the same.

Not a single respondent from the design sector predicted that revenue levels would fall.

The survey shows that designers are more optimistic than those working in other marketing disciplines, with more than 12 per cent of those working in digital and 17 per cent of those working in media buying predicting a revenue fall for 2014.

The Outlook Survey also shows that no design consultancies predicted that they would reduce staff numbers through either redundancies or natural wastage. A third of respondents said they would recruit, while two-thirds said they expected staff levels to stay the same.

However, despite all saying that they expected revenues to stay static or grow, more than 10 per cent of design respondents said they thought profits would decline.

All design respondents said they thought that the cost bringing in freelancers to deal with peaks and troughs in income would affect the bottom line.

Other reasons cited were a general pressure on salaries and the inability to increase charge-out rates to clients.

Kingston Smith W1 quizzed more than 100 respondents from different marketing disciplines for the survey.

Kingston Smith W1 says of the results, ‘The overall results of the survey are very positive, with an overwhelming number of respondents predicting growth in income, and the majority also expecting increases in profits.

‘However, sitting next to this has been an acknowledgement of the difficulties that still lie ahead, and we urge a degree of caution here.

‘As budgetary purse-strings are loosened and demand for marketing services increases, due attention will need to be paid to controlling rising costs, both in terms of salaries to attract the most talented individuals, and increasing property costs in central London, driven by the economic recovery. A failure to control these costs sufficiently could adversely impact on margins.’

• The Design Week Top 100, which is currently open for entries, will also examine predicted growth in incomes.

For the Top 100, Design Week is working with Kingston Smith W1 to provide a ranking of the Top 100 independent design consultancies in the UK, as well as analysis of their performance.

You can download the entry form for the 2014 Design Week Top 100 here.

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