Hampered 2021 growth amid high inflation
One of the main moderators for growth during 2021, and one certain to play an ever more prominent role in 2022, was inflation. This was particularly true for those regions that showed historically bigger degrees of volatility: the rest of the Americas with a combined 6.25% of inflation over 2021, Africa with 13.24% and the Middle East with 5.33%. The impact is a lower net growth that, in the case of Africa and the Middle East together, becomes a negative -3.8%.
2022 is starting to show the medium and long-term effects of the shock that occurred in 2020. Today, social unrest, political turmoil, high levels of inflation, and disruption of supply chains are the reality many countries have to deal with, not to mention new open armed conflicts. All things considered, ESOMAR estimates that the industry will expand during 2022 by +5.2% in net terms (after expected global inflation of almost 7%).
Three countries or areas of the world have seen their turnover return to pre-pandemic levels: the European Union (EU), the UK, and Northern America. In the EU, all 26 countries (we do not collect data on Malta) surpassed in 2021 their declared turnover for 2019, except for France, Finland, Hungary and Croatia. In Northern America, both the US and Canada reported turnovers above the 2019 level – with growth rates above 15% in each case. The UK also declared excellent growth levels and increased its level of output by nearly US$ 2 billion.
The same cannot be said for Asia Pacific, however. Out of the 22 countries included in this region in ESOMAR’s report, only 8 managed to overcome the shock experienced in 2020: China, India, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Mongolia.
Similarly, Latin America continues to feel the reverberations of the pandemic, and no country with a declared turnover above USD 10 million has yet surpassed the 2019 level of output.
Lastly, the situation is analogous in Africa and the Middle East. From those countries that declared their level of turnover over 2021, no country over USD 10 million in turnover managed to report pre-pandemic levels of output. Only Iraq, with USD 5.0 m in 2021 compared to USD 4.7 m in 2019, appears to have eluded a prolonged shock.