Despite ritual breast-beating about recession, German-based advertising agencies enjoyed collective revenue growth last year, with aggregated turnover up year-on-year by 5% to €12.9 billion ($11.34bn; £7.98bn). This was in the face of a national adspend decline of 5%.

The data was unveiled Tuesday by Lothar Leonhard, president of the nation’s 130-strong industry association GWA (Gesamtverband Kommunikationsagenturen). But Leonhard, who also heads O&M Germany, was playing it untra-cautious: “I don't expect the economic situation to become any less tense this year. I no longer see any opportunities for the agencies to turn their own cost screws,” he said.

But the figures he presented suggest that the outlook for 2002 is a lot less grim than many had feared, with total national advertising expenditure expected to lift by around 1% compared with last year’s 5% across-the-board slide.

Additionally, most GWA members have benefited from the ‘swings and carousels’ syndrome whereby what they lose on the advertising swings they gain on the below-the-line and consultancy carousels. GWA is forecasting 3.5% growth this year in members' combined turnover.

GWA members between them are responsible for 80% of the turnover of Germany's top two hundred agencies.

Data sourced from: (Germany); additional content by WARC staff