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Trump victory brings uncertainty

News, 10 November 2016

GLOBAL: As news of Donald Trump's election victory sinks in, industry figures around the world have begun assessing the implications, with "uncertainty" the word on many people's lips and polling techniques under fire.

"It's going to take a significant time to assess the implications beyond the short-term," Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, told The Drum. He expected there would be some "hesitation" by companies and governments around making important investment decisions.

That sentiment was echoed by his colleague in Asia Pacific. "This [Trump victory] will undoubtedly create a degree of uncertainty in some quarters which impacts the financial markets, confidence, investment decisions and planning," according to Mark Patterson, CEO of GroupM Asia Pacific.

"In these circumstances, marketing budgets tend to come under greater scrutiny as the ripple effect economically is considered and anticipated in the region," he told Mumbrella.

"So in the immediate term no shock wave, but in the longer term we will just have to see how it plays out."

One of the biggest concerns in China is whether the president-elect will follow through on his threat to impose punitive tariffs on imports from that country.

"In China, as I suspect in many places around the world, I believe there will be a wait-and-see approach to see whether Trump will carry out some of the more controversial promises he made while campaigning," Zhang Yu, assistant professor of management at the China European International Business School, told the South China Morning Post.

Analyst group Pivotal Research has noted that putting up trade barriers would have a negative impact on the US economy with a knock-on effect on advertising.

Digital advertising may be less affected, however, as Pivotal predicted that owners of data would benefit as "privacy issues may become non-issues" in the absence of Democratic party control of the FTC and FCC.

And while Sorrell said there was "a lot of reassessment" to be done around polling, which again failed to accurately anticipate the outcome of a major event, Pivotal suggested this could result in greater investment in data and measurement services – "to the extent that new approaches evolve in data science for other categories of marketers, the sector could benefit", it said.

More worryingly, it added that "idiosyncratic company risks will emerge, especially among owners of news properties", which Trump repeatedly attacked during his campaign.

Data sourced from The Drum, Mumbrella, South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc staff