The aim of this research was to carry out an analysis of the market in 2017, i.e. obtaining an insight into the
current situation in the industry, collecting transparent data and ranking agencies according to different
criteria. This is a unique research and reporting platform that has multiple purpose and far-reaching effects on the market of marketing communication in Serbia.

The study, which official hashtag is #AgencyReport18, showed that as many as 136 new agencies were opened in the
period from 2012 to 2017, of which the most are marketing communication agencies (60), followed by digital communication agencies (30) and public relations and communication agencies (26). Currently, in Serbia, there are as many as 288 business entities (small business owners excluded) in the marketing and marketing communication

Most of the agencies (30%), that were covered by the analysis, have been in the business between 6 and 10 years, while 24% of them have been in the business from 0 to 5 and 11 to 15 years, respectively. In 2017, the total industry’s revenue amounted to 45.2 billion dinars, which is a 2.23% increase relative to 2016. The total net profit of this industry in Serbia stood at 2.5 billion dinars last year which is a 6.09% hike compared to 2016.

In terms of business revenues in 2017, media buying and advertising planning agencies had the biggest market share of 45.04%. This group of agencies generated business revenues in the amount of close to 20.3 billion dinars, with the net profit of over 700 million dinars. Last year, marketing communication agencies had a market share of 26.3% and the revenue of almost 12 billion dinars (cumulatively generated by 112 agencies).

Their net profit in 2017 stood at around 698 million dinars. A drop in net profit, at the industry level, was recorded in PR and communications agencies (-12%), media buying and advertising planning agencies (-19.75%) and agencies that organize trade fairs and other events (-26.76%). A drop in business revenue, at the industry level, was recorded in marketing communication agencies (-0-91%) and agencies that organize trade fairs and other events (-2.52%).

Digital marketing agencies are by far the most stable and the fastest growing agency group in the marketing communication market in Serbia. They recorded a 26.92% increase in business revenue and a 94.07% increase in net profit which just validates the fact that clients are spending more and more on digital communications which, according to all available indicators, will be a big trend in the following few years.

The only group that has recorded unfavourable business results last year, at the industry level, was agencies that organize trade fairs and other events – they had a 2.52% drop in business revenue and a decline in net profit of 26.76%. If these agencies fail to implement novelties in their line of business and if the trend of clients spending less on their services continues, they could experience a huge crisis in the years to come.

The group that consists of marketing and social research agencies was stagnating last year, with the big changes and re-rankings expected as of next year. One of the reasons for this is that, in early August, IPSOS announced that it had reached an agreement at the global level with their competitor, GfK about taking over four key operative segments – customer satisfaction, healthcare, innovation research and public affairs.

One of the conditions of this acquisition was also hiring 1,000 GfK specialists, researchers and employees working in 25 countries that GfK was doing business in the aforementioned segments, including Serbia.

It is interesting to note that over 50% of communication and PR agencies also recorded a drop in business revenue relative to 2016. Also, 27 out of 37 ranked agencies had no new employees last year. In terms of the number of
people working in this industry, agencies in Serbia have over 3,700 employees. Most of them are working for marketing communication agencies (1,411), although, in 2017, they hired the least number of new people – 1.73% – compared to 2016. Outdoor advertising agencies have a total of 558 employees while digital marketing agencies have 443.

The salaries in marketing communication segment top the average salary in Serbia. The average net salary in media buying and advertising planning agencies was the highest in the entire industry, and amounted to around 700 euro last year. The average wage in the marketing communication agencies and market research / social research agencies
was close to 600 euro. The lowest average salary was recorded in press clipping and media analysis agencies – around 250 euro, and in the agencies that organize trade fairs and other events – close to 320 euro.

The #AgencyReport18 analysis has also shown that market communication agencies in Serbia recorded a slight growth in all financial parameters, and that there is a noticeable and a rather high percentage of newly founded companies in this industry. If this trend continues, the market couldž become oversaturated due to a large number of agencies ‘fighting’ for a small slice of the market.

The Agency Report is Marketing Mreža’s long-term project that will be implemented every year. The project is realized entirely in accordance with the vision and mission of Marketing Mreža in terms of transparency, development and harmonization of the Serbian market with the markets in developed states worldwide.

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