FRANCE – Revenues at Ipsos have fallen 2.9% for the first quarter of 2023 compared with the previous year, the firm’s latest financial results show.

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The financial results for the first three months of 2023 showed revenue at €532m, with organic growth at -2.8%.

Ipsos said a tough first quarter of 2023 was expected due to the ‘cliff edge’ from the end of large Covid-19 contracts, which were still running until March 2022.

The 2023 figures also suffered in comaprison with strong growth of 12.3% in the first quarter of 2022, which was due to a post-pandemic rebound, particularly in the Americas, and strong performance in China before its 2022 lockdowns.

Other factors affecting revenue in early 2023 at Ipsos included the continued impact of China’s zero-Covid policies, which saw a 3.9% decline in Ipsos’ revenues in China in the first quarter of 2023.

Global uncertainty over the economy in late 2022 and early 2023 also saw some clients adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to spending, as well as some major tech clients carrying out major reorganisations in the US.

Ipsos said in a statement: “Given the cyclical nature of our business and the smaller scope of the first quarter, revenue growth in this quarter is not representative of growth for the year.

“Meanwhile, the order book at the end of March, which historically represents more than half of the year’s revenues, is showing good momentum.

“Excluding Covid-19 contracts, it has been picking up over the last few months, with organic growth of 3.3% at the end of the first quarter and 6.4% for the month of March alone.”

By region, Europe, Middle East and Africa declined in the first three months of 2023 by 6% due to the war in Ukraine and the end of the major Covid-19 contracts, which were concentrated in this region.

Organic growth in the Americas was 1%, with a 9% rise in revenues in Latin America and a generally stable activity in North America after 22% organic growth in the region in 2022.

Indian revenues grew more than 20% in the first quarter of 2023, but business in Asia-Pacific fell 2% overall because of the zero-Covid policy in China. 

In Ipsos’ work with clients and employees and consumer research, revenues remained broadly stable, while the Ipsos.Digital platform grew 36% in the first three months of 2023.

Ipsos’ citizens research for government and the public sector decreased by 13%, reflecting the end of Covid-19 contracts in March last year, although underlying work for the public sector grew by 8%.

Finally, Ipsos’ business with doctors and patients was down by 5%, partly due to delays in decision-making by major clients in the pharmaceutical industry.

Net debt at the end of March was €23m compared with €69m at the end of December 2022, which includes share buybacks for a total of €33m since 1st January 2023.