The Q2 report, which was published on 16 April, found that a net balance of +7.4% of companies recorded growth in their events spend, which was a three-quarter high. Marketing budgets as a whole also increased to a three-quarter high in Q2 2015, marking 11 quarters of successive expansion.
The data showed that 12.2% of companies in the survey panel registered an increase to their total marketing budgets in Q2 2015, up from 11.8% in Q1 and 6.1% in Q4 2014.
Despite the sustained growth, there was a marked deterioration in optimism regarding companies’ own financial prospects, which declined to a nine-quarter low of 25.3%, from 37.8% in the previous survey.
Paul Smith, senior economist at Markit and author of the Bellwether Report, said the report provided positive news on marketing activity in the UK. However, he pointed out that the underlying drivers of growth were harder to read.
"On the one hand, companies are showing an increasing willingness to engage in corporate hospitality, conferences and sponsorship," he explained. "But belying this confidence is an increased willingness to engage in discounting and promotional activities designed to support sales at a time when the economic and financial outlook for companies has become just a little more uncertain. Whereas we see growth holding up in 2015 overall, the latest survey supports the projection of softer expansion further out."
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