B2B Growth Screeches to a Halt in 2014
Print falls off a cliff; events, digital, data growth shrinks.
B2B growth was almost nonexistent for the first half of 2014, according to the latest BIN report from ABM.
Overall, raw revenue was up 2.5 percent year-over-year to $13.4 billion. Adjusted for inflation, the gain was just 0.4 percent. While still in positive territory, the slow first half all but negates the momentum from a strong 2013—revenue was up 4.8 percent for the full year, including a 4.4-percent bump in the first half.
Print accelerated its steady decline, falling off a cliff in the first 6 months. Revenue was down 7.1 percent over 2013—a drop nearly two-thirds further than the industry suffered in either of the last two years. Alone, the second quarter was even worse. Print revenue was down 9.9 percent in Q2.
No one’s gasping at print declines, but the slowed growth of events, digital and data products raise eyebrows.
Events still account for almost 45 percent of overall industry revenue (roughly, $6 billion), but grew just 2.2 percent through June. That’s half the rate of growth from two years ago. The report blames "weak exhibition performance in the construction, business, education and non-profit sectors" for the decline.
See also: The 2014 B2B CEO Survey
Digital advertising had the strongest start to 2014 with a 15.7-percent growth rate, though even that fell off from prior marks—revenue from digital rose a whopping 24.8 percent in the first half of last year. Increases that high weren’t sustainable, but this much of a regression is notable.
Digital’s overall share of revenue has increased 5 percent since 2012 however, now accounting for more than 20 percent of all B2B earnings. It’s on pace to out-earn print by the end of the year.
Data services fell into the same pattern. At 4.5 percent, growth was down significantly from the first halves of 2012 and 2013. It’s still a small slice of the overall pie at 10 percent of total revenue.