Paris, February 26, 2020 – Ipsos generated over €2 billion in revenue in 2019, 14.5% increase in FY 2018. 2019 is the first year in which revenue passed the €2 billion mark, ten years after hitting the €1 billion mark in 2010.
In 2019, Ipsos posted growth on the back of strong operating performances with: an organic component at constant exchange rates and scope of 3.8%, the best annual performance since 2011; plus scope effects (+8.6%) resulting from the acquisition in the final months of 2018 of GfK Research and Synthesio; and lastly, exchange rates had a 2.3% positive effect.
In Q4 2019, these same factors also explain revenue levels, though with different weightings. Q4 quarterly revenue broke the €600 million mark for the first time ever, up 12.1% on the €535.6 million in Q4 2018.
Organic growth in Q4 2019 was 5.6%, almost twice the level of the three previous quarters. Scope effects amounted to 3.7%, much lower than for the full-year, with GfK Research having been included in the Ipsos financial statements in October 2018 and Synthesio a month later. Only exchange rate effects had similar quarterly and annual trends, of 2.2% and 2.3% respectively.
The strong performance in Q4 2019 is a positive effect of the implementation of the Total Understanding project which commenced on the 1st of July 2018 and through 31st of December 2018.
Thanks to this new organization, Ipsos is better positioned to meet the needs of a very large number of public and private companies and institutions, and to generate information that is reliable, clear, usable, offers a competitive edge or, in any event, is conducive to better decision-making. The Ipsos market is dynamic and, like many other markets, is moving towards the demand for concrete and specific uses.
Ipsos performed particularly well in major markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, Turkey, and India. These performances, which were above average, were not, however, exclusive to the major markets. Ipsos teams have also made progress in Eastern Europe and Northern and South-Eastern Asia. Some countries in Western Europe and also in the Middle East and Africa saw slower growth than the company average. Their goal will be to do better in 2020.
OUTLOOK FOR 2020
Throughout 2019, Ipsos strengthened its position with a large number of clients, across a broad range of markets. This is evidenced by the strong performance in Q4 2019. The volume of orders at the end of January 2020 was high.
This being said, the Coronavirus outbreak in China in January 2020, which from early February then spread to other countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa, raises several questions about 2020 activity.
It is not possible at this stage to make reliable forecasts since the sequence of events is uncertain. This is true for markets, Ipsos clients and Ipsos itself. Who would have thought, even a week ago, that many factories and offices would reopen at least partially in China while universities, schools, and other public places would close indefinitely in Milan?
Other markets will without doubt also be affected by the epidemic. It is, obviously, impossible to make an exhaustive and complete list. However, it is likely that, in each
country where a strict or more relaxed quarantine is imposed, be this only for a few days or a few weeks, there will be a slowdown in economic activity, the needs for priority
information will be reassessed and investment programs rescheduled. Some companies will face temporary challenges on account of the contribution of China to their business and other affected countries.
It is, however, possible to state a few facts and make some assumptions. Ipsos will be impacted in China, to a greater or lesser extent depending on how long the epidemic lasts, and this could be for at least the first six months of 2020. The company plays an important role there, and in 2019, the Chinese market represented 7.5% of its revenue.
Finally, and in a very real sense, not everything is possible at a time like this. For instance, it will become difficult to question or even observe people face-to-face.
Ipsos has already taken measures, notably in China and in Asia, to reduce its costs and roll out innovative services tailored to current needs, so that even if the situation were to extend beyond the next few weeks the company will strengthen its position in its markets.
Conversely, the content of discussions on social media will get more interesting and analyses of behavioral data will become irreplaceable sources for understanding people. Services to support businesses and institutions in their efforts to consider and adjust their plans are absolutely vital.
More generally, Ipsos considers itself to be better positioned than others to get through this crisis which, nobody will deny, is unprecedented. Ipsos provides its clients with a real capacity to work in a market and/or throughout the world simultaneously and almost instantly.
Ipsos is still committed to:
- Improving its operational performance by developing new tools such as Ipsos. Digital (a Do It Yourself or DIY solution), the automated platform that clients and the Ipsos teams can use to carry out surveys at competitive rates. The recent acquisition of the software provider “Askia” is part of this approach.
- Increasing the efficiency and attractiveness of the 72 services it offers clients from large and complex survey programs of identified segments of the population of a country or a wider area to practical and qualitative interventions intended to help businesses improve product design and usage. To this end, Ipsos will give priorityto the new services that were identified and formalized in 2015 and that have been updated annually since then.
- Stepping up the development of data analyses and Artificial Intelligence solutions, thus accelerating the process of optimizing, identifying and using the data contained in the countless databases available to the company and its clients.
- Accelerating the use of multiple information channels that ultimately, alone or combined, will help realize the promise of “Total Understanding”. In addition to conventional survey procedures, Ipsos can now use observation and immersion techniques that get up close to people in their everyday lives. It is also developing automated and passive systems for measuring behaviors without people having to be actively involved and systems to monitor and analyze content on social media.
- Strengthening team training and performance, to help them collaborate better, by creating the conditions for “research” and “advisory” divisions to work together to better address the decision-making issues faced by businesses and client institutions.
- Finally, continuing to develop active, trusted, customized relationships with its thousands of clients. Teams that, beyond their technical and operational capabilities, have a deep understanding of their clients and an instinct for collaboration and are now better placed than ever to disseminate sound information, rich in content and insights so they can act with speed and accuracy. In particular, Ipsos has gathered together and deployed 250 high-level professionals in a dedicated “client organization”, capable of handling the necessary and optimized adaptation of its services, solutions, and resources to meet actual needs.
The recently developed Ipsos’ “raison d’être” sums up the company’s ambition and sense of purpose and was adopted by its Board of Directors:
“Deliver reliable information for a true understanding of Society, Markets and People.”
At a time when so many plans, projects, and organizations are at stake, when we are all facing an epidemic on an extraordinary scale, when everything is going to have to be reconsidered, reassessed and redesigned, Ipsos feels well-positioned to meet the information needs of its clients thanks to its resources, geographical footprint, teams, experience, and solutions.
Ipsos believes that it is in a position, at this stage, to attain its targets for 2020: organic growth of between 2% and 4% and an improved operating margin of over 10%, so that the 11% target for 2021 is attainable.
Obviously, given the specific context in which 2020 begins, these annual forecasts will be reassessed, and if necessary, adjusted no later than the end of April when Q1 2020 results are published.