Volume growth in agency activity slowed in 2019: RECMA

The top five networks – OMD, Carat, Mindshare, MediaCom and Wavemaker – make up 49% of overall activity volume.

RECMA’s annual global Activity Volume report for 2019 has been released and provides a quantitative comparison of 18 global networks covering year-over-year growth rates and industry shares. It pegs media agency industry growth at 5.2% in 2019 compared to 7.1% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2017.

The top five global networks account for 49% of the overall activity volume and growth: OMD, Carat, Mindshare, MediaCom and Wavemaker. Starcom, Zenith, UM, Initiative and Havas round out the top 10. Although the top eight are the same as in 2018, Initiative moved up to number nine from 12 last year.

In its analysis of the networks, RECMA found that OMD was strongest in EMEA, where it is number one, and is improving elsewhere, giving it the second highest growth rate in the top 12 networks. Carat is stronger in the U.S., but decreasing in APAC. Its growth in Europe is below average however overall, it had a good 2019 thanks to the giant win of most components of P&G’s media account in the U.S. and Canada. The agency also won the coveted IKEA account in Canada in 2019.

Mindshare had a good 2019 overall, better than the industry in general, thanks to its robust presence in the U.S. It also boasts an outstanding presence in Asia, but is uneven in Europe. Mindshare China increased its market share by 24 points, the highest score of the industry within the top 16 countries.

MediaCom had a quiet 2019 with limited growth and an average ranking in the U.S. that prevented it from reaching the top three. Wavemaker experienced a slight global decrease but its robust APAC growth offset a North American decline, which seems to have stabilized more recently.

Starcom showed stable growth rates, and relied on some key markets to maintain its ranking. Zenith gained speed in China, compensating for average growth elsewhere. UM was hit by the Chrysler departure in the U.S. but is thriving in Latin America, U.K., Australia and India. It’s powerful overall in the Americas – Canadian wins in 2019 include Re/Max and SkipTheDishes – but needs volume in Europe and Asia.

Initiative had the highest growth rate in 2019. It is a leader in Latin America but mid-sized in the U.S. while still in the top five in Europe and China. Canadian wins for Initiative in 2019 included Keurig-Dr. Pepper. Havas Media experienced slower growth in 2019 except in China, India, Russia and the U.K. It still has low industry shares in some key markets but remains robust in Latin America and EMEA.