The rate at which events budgets increased was the slowest seen by the survey since the end of 2015, although growth has remained in 'comfortable territory'. While nearly 21% of those surveyed indicated events budgets growth, around 16% indicated a contraction.
Upward revisions to budgets are widely expected to be sustained into the coming financial year. Final data showed that a net balance of +10.6% are predicting growth in 2017/2018.
Paul Smith, senior economist at IHS Markit and author of the Bellwether Report said: "The Q1 2017 Bellwether survey paints a picture of a solidly growing UK economy, with companies continuing to show a willingness to commit increased resources to marketing and capitalise on current positive sales trends.
"Given the prevailing backdrop of Brexit-related economic uncertainties, a key question is whether the resilience in spend shown post referendum can be maintained. At present, marketers seem confident, with both sentiment around their own company financial prospects and budgets for the year ahead remaining inside positive territory.
"But perhaps reflective of the relative limbo we find ourselves in ahead of the start of negotiations between Britain and the EU, degrees of confidence remain historically low and panellists continue to note plenty of threats to the outlook."
Lesley Mason, client services director at FreemanXP EMEA commented: "We saw an extremely busy start to the year so I don’t feel that there is less investment in our sector on the whole, however I do see the Q1 2017 Bellwether figures as a reaction to the uncertainty over the global economic outlook, which most notably came to a head at the end of 2016. Many brands are now choosing to manage their budgets on a quarterly basis as a result of this, as it allows them to react to market changes or competitor activity very quickly."
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