- Moore Stephens’ & WARC report values the global martech market at $99.9 billion
- Findings reveal a 44% increase year-on-year for UK and North American-based companies
- Automation and the introduction of voice technologies are boosting the marketplace
In its annual Martech Report, Top Ten international accountancy firm Moore Stephens, along with WARC, the worldwide authority on advertising and media effectiveness, has valued the global marketing technology market at an estimated $99.9 billion.
The study, carried out amongst more than 800 UK, North American, Asia-Pacific and European brands and agencies was initiated to better understand the scale of opportunity, and reveals not only a huge existing market, but one that continues to grow exponentially. Indeed, when asked about the outlook for the market, brands expect to increase their investment in martech for the year ahead. This is particularly true in the case of Europe (excluding UK), where nearly two thirds (63%) said they expect their budgets to increase.
In the UK and North America, brands have increased their martech budgets by 44%, meaning it’s now worth up to $52 billion. These brands are spending nearly a quarter (23%) of their budgets on martech, up from 16% 12 months ago. Interestingly, brands in the UK and North America are also keen to spend on in-house technology.
63% of technology budgets were spent in-house – compared to 44% last year – a figure Moore Stephens believes is driven by a desire from brands to excel in their customer experience, coupled with an element of mistrust in agencies.
Damian Ryan, Partner, Moore Stephens, said: “Investment in martech has reached a tipping point over the last 12 months. Established marketers in disrupted industries, such as insurance and financial services, realise they need to invest if they are to future-proof themselves, and view martech as a key area of investment. Just look at Nationwide Building Society’s recent announcement of £1 billion investment in tech. Staying relevant is key, but taking on the new breed of competitors – such as Revolut is creating a big rethink.”
“All the while, agencies are struggling to stay relevant. Clearly marketers are seeking to build in-house strength and are set to spend more on martech to remain competitive. Our research finds that this budget is coming from media spend and will have a resounding impact on the value of media-centric agencies.”
Looking at the global market, those who said their budget will increase expect to see an average increase of 13%. Even more indicative of a fast-growing market is the fact that around one-in-five (18% in North America, 17% UK) expect increases of more than 25% in their martech budgets over the next year.
Moore Stephens and WARC also looked at the specific technologies behind this burgeoning market. On a global scale, perhaps unsurprisingly, email remains the most likely avenue for martech, used by 79% of marketers. This is closely followed by social media, with 77% currently using the technology with a further 18% expecting to use in the next 12 months.
The most planned for tactic in the year ahead, interestingly, is SEO – an established marketing discipline, but one which continues to change as algorithms develop. The biggest rise, year-on-year for the UK & North American market, was the use of martech for analytics, measurement and insights, selected by 75% – a 19% rise on a year ago.
The study showed that the most established tech currently in use is that of ‘internet of things’ (IoT) and connected devices. Second is ‘voice’ which has seen rapid development over the past year, influencing the way searches are made online and driving progress in areas such as voice optimisation. A new wave of martech tools will likely emerge, and when the results are broken down by region, the UK is likely to be the most progressive in terms of voice search, with 36% stating they currently use a tool in this area, and a further 11% planning to do so in the next few months.
Ryan continued: “There is no question the future looks big and bright for the entire market. Voice is a technology we’re watching very closely. In many households, Alexa has evolved from being a source of music and news to become more like a member of the family. Along with being great fun for quizzes and questions – there’s a clear trends towards VAL (voice activated lifestyle), the implications for marketers here are immense.
“Though the market is burgeoning, the study also looked at what the barriers are to future investment. Understandably, the number one restriction for 43% of respondents, is marketing budget constraints. Second, however, for over a quarter (26%) was a lack of understanding of the technology coupled with increasing complexity is creating issues for marketers.”
Amy Rodgers, Research Editor, WARC, concluded: “There has been no discernible sign that the rate of growth within the martech space is slackening. With data volumes continuously increasing, this research shows that data, analytics and automation are key focuses for martech investment globally as marketers look for help with metrics and measurement. Understanding of the technology available continues to be an issue for brands, however, and with many planning to move tech in-house over the next year, agencies will have to adapt to a changing, advisory role in the martech strategies of their clients.”
COVID-19 and PCL property – a market on the rise?
By Alpa Bhakta, CEO of Butterfield Mortgages Limited
Over the last five years, demand for prime central London (PCL) property has been fairly inconsistent. Sudden peaks in interest from buyers could be followed by periods of stagnate price growth. Nonetheless, the advantages of PCL property investment, particularly by international investors, has remained well known.
Well-funded development and neighbourhood re-generation schemes, alongside an influx of overseas investment, has resulted in a vibrant market with a diverse range of opportunities for prospective buyers.
Nonetheless, the PCL market has not been immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first half of the year, the lockdown meant physical valuations and onsite inspections could not take place. People in the UK were also discouraged from moving properties unless they found themselves in extreme circumstances.
However, as we now enter the final weeks of 2020, I believe there’re plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future prospects of the PCL property market. Buyer demand has resulted in a new wave of activity, and this is resulting in significant house price growth. Indeed, it was recently revealed by Halifax that the average rate of house price growth in November was at a four-year high.
Obviously, there are multiple factors that have helped sustain this strong level of house price growth. Most notably, the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday has succeeded in coaxing buyers back to the property market––be they seasoned buy-to-let (BTL) investors or first-time buyers––by offering up to £15,000 in tax savings on any given property purchase.
However, it’s worth considering the other factors underway in London’s property market. With the UK in a second national lockdown, many investors will be keen on hedging against future COVID-imbued market uncertainty through acquiring safe-haven assets like British property. As you’ll read below, this is having a positive impact on the PCL market.
Investors are flocking to PCL opportunities
The PCL property market has managed to be one of the most active areas of the UK’s real estate market during the whole of 2020. When discussing why this is so, we must first begin by understanding the behaviours of overseas buyers.
Given that international investors represented over half (55%) of all the PCL property purchases recorded in the second half of 2019, anything to further incentivise or dissuade such foreign actors would hugely impact PCL property transaction figures.
Earlier in the year, alongside the announcement of the aforementioned SDLT holiday, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak indeed announced that he would be implementing 2% SDLT surcharge for non-UK based buyers of British property from April 2021 onwards.
So, for those seeking properties worth over £5 million in the UK capital, a 2% additional cost may represent a substantial amount of wealth. To avoid this, many overseas buyers who may have been contemplating a PCL property acquisition have rushed to buy such properties before this surcharge is applicable. This trend will undoubtedly continue until 1 April, 2021.
Remote working and PCL
On the topic of the PCL market’s future, many property speculators were concerned earlier this year that London’s property market would potentially collapse entirely as a result of remote working. With homeworking set to remain the norm for the foreseeable future, commentators predicted that professionals would escape the capital en-masse in favour of roomier, cheaper properties farther from their London employer’s offices.
While there have been some signs of shifting demand from urban London neighbourhoods to suburban ones, according to Rightmove statistics, there has been no recordable effect on the UK’s property market as a result.
Conversely, property specialists Savills have actually discovered that over half of all transactions including properties worth more than £5 million in the UK this year were all located in just five central London postcodes.
A busy few months
Given the performance of the PCL property sector in 2020, I only foresee this market growing stronger and stronger in the years ahead. Recent developments in the production of COVID-19 vaccine have many hoping that we may return to normality by Spring 2021, which would represent fantastic news for those involved in bricks and mortar, should it transpire.
In the coming months, I anticipate a surge in activity across the PCL market as buyers look to take advantage of the tax breaks on offer. As such, it will be important that these buyers have access to the financing needed to complete these transactions quickly. If not, there is a risk any purchase they attempt might be concluded in April 2021 when the current tax breaks in place are removed.
Overall, I cannot help but be impressed by the performance of the property market more generally during the pandemic. Having experienced slow growth in the years following the EU referendum in June 2016, it is clear that buyers are eager to take advantage of the opportunities on offer. This is particularly true when it comes to PCL property.
An outlook on equities and bonds
By Rupert Thompson, Chief Investment Officer at Kingswood
The equity market rally paused last week with global equities little changed in local currency terms. Even so, this still leaves markets up a hefty 10% so far this month with UK equities gaining as much as 14%.
The November rally started with the US election results but gathered momentum with the recent very encouraging vaccine news. This continued today with the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine proving to be up to 90% effective in preventing Covid infections. This is slightly below the 95% efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already reported but this one has the advantage of not needing to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures. One or more of these vaccines now looks very likely to start being rolled out within a few weeks.
Of course, these vaccines will do little to halt the current surge in infections. Cases may now be starting to moderate in the UK and some countries in Europe but the trend remains sharply upwards in the US. The damage lockdowns are doing to the recovery was highlighted today with the news that business confidence in the UK and Europe fell back into recessionary territory in November.
Markets, however, are likely to continue to look through this weakness to the prospect of a strong global recovery next year. While equities may have little additional upside near term, they should see further significant gains next year. Their current high valuations should be supported by the very low level of interest rates, leaving a rebound in earnings to drive markets higher.
Prospective returns over the coming year look markedly higher for equities than for bonds, where return prospects are very limited. As for the downside risks for equities, they appear much reduced with the recent vaccine news and central banks making it clear they are still intent on doing all they can to support growth.
Both factors mean we have taken the decision to increase our equity exposure. While our portfolios already have significant allocations to equities and have benefited from the rally in recent months, we are now moving our allocations into line with the levels we would expect to hold over the long term.
Our new equity allocations will be focused on the ‘value’ areas of the market. The last few weeks have seen a significant rotation out of expensive high ‘growth’ sectors such as technology into cheaper and more cyclical areas such as financials, materials and industrials. Similarly, countries and regions, such as the UK which look particularly cheap, have fared well just recently.
We think this rotation has further to run and will be adding to our UK exposure. This does not mean we have suddenly become converts to Boris’s rose-tinted post-Brexit view of the UK’s economic prospects. Instead, this more favourable backdrop for cheap markets is likely to favour the UK.
We will also be adding to US equities. Again, this does not represent a change in our longstanding caution on the US market overall due to its high valuation. Rather, we will be investing in the cheaper areas of the US which have significant catch-up potential.
We are also making a change to our Asia ex Japan equity holdings. We will be focusing some of this exposure on China which we believe deserves a specific allocation due to the strong performance of late of that economy and the sheer size of the Chinese equity market.
On the fixed income side, we will be reducing our allocation to short maturity high quality UK corporate bonds, where return prospects look particularly limited. We are also taking the opportunity to add an allocation to inflation-linked bonds in our lower risk, fixed income heavy, portfolios. These have little protection against a rise in inflation unlike our higher risk portfolios, which are protected through their equity holdings.
Optimising tax reclaim through tech: What wealth managers need to know in trying times
By Christophe Lapaire, Head Advanced Tax Services, Swiss Stock Exchange
This has been a year of trials: first, a global pandemic and, now, many countries facing the very real possibility of a recession. For investors, private banks, and wealth managers, these tumultuous times have manifested largely in asset price volatility, ultra-low interest rates and uncertainty about when things may level out, as well as questions about what can be done to safeguard portfolio performance.
The answer here lies within identifying and creating efficiencies to maximise performance and minimise cost, and while there is a slew of options as to how to do this, they are often siloed or have a single USP. Tax optimisation, on the other hand, provides benefits to all, not just in increasing returns for investors, but also in creating economies of scale across stakeholders, creating millions – if not billions – in savings for banks.
Evolving tax reclaim
The tax reclaim process used to be a tedious one banks had to manage themselves, and required detailed, industry and country-specific knowledge to stay on top of constantly shifting requirements and regulations. And when we consider that many countries – such as the UK – allow for capital gains exemptions, tax optimisation may not seem like an integral part of the process. However, this isn’t the case for all countries, and can lead to severe after-tax implications on global portfolios.
Furthermore, even if you’re able to avoid double taxation, getting the money back is not always as simple as it sounds. This, combined with the fact that countries often have contradictory taxation rules or requirements, makes navigating the tax reclaim space a challenge even for those with the right expertise and experience.
Ultimately, providing tax optimisation to investors ends up being a heavy lift for private banks and wealth managers, who often don’t have the right solutions, are relying on outdated technology and manual processes. While this is generally fine for business, it is no longer fit for the purpose when it comes to tax optimisation. To date, knowledge and expertise have been the key to protecting and maintaining profitable investments and avoiding tax leakage. However, through tax optimisation services starting to emerge, portfolio managers can now manage and reinvest easily.
Today, technology has evolved the process so that banks are able to access and submit tax reclaim – and the relevant documentation – online, leaving the tech provider to coordinate next steps with custodians and tax authorities behind the scenes. In essence, taking the legwork out of the process while assuring consistency and completeness in execution.
Simplifying tax through tech
While tax optimisation may seem like an easy choice in theory, it is not always the go-to for every private bank or wealth manager. Without the right supports and setup, including innovative technologies and automation, tax reporting must be done manually, leading to labour intensive processes and huge time wastage. Changing these processes can be overwhelming for those used to a certain way of operating.
By making tax reclaim digital, banks will be more able to optimise returns and gain efficiencies while reducing redundancies and unnecessary complexities. Cloud based solutions or platforms can offer a safe and secure solution for banks, wealth managers, and investors to access and submit any information required, processing the data automatically for conformity and completeness.
It is critical that providers who intend to offer tax services are able to do so efficiently with the right software and data processing capabilities. Not only does this drive continuity in service and efficiencies in process, but it is the only sustainable way to handle such a complex landscape sustainably without wasting time or money.
End-to-end, technologically driven tax services offer a huge number of advantages to private banks and wealth managers, the most important of which is the ability to provide continuity through tumultuous times. As we move through the end of 2020 into 2021 this will only be increasingly important as banks, managers and investors look to provide new services to clients and strengthen existing relationships in a difficult market.
As investors seek to find returns amid the global economic downturn, the demand for innovative solutions will only increase. Technology like cloud-based software, AI, and data optimisation can all serve to improve not just the tax reclaim processes, but the overall client experience within capital markets. Private banks and wealth managers are suitably equipped to provide these innovative solutions, but those who do not prepare themselves effectively and keep ahead of trends will run the risk of losing current and new clients to someone who can offer more for less.
COVID-19: Dealing with fraudulent applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme
By Ed Lloyd, EVP Global Head of Sales, Encompass The COVID-19 pandemic is still having a devastating impact on businesses...
EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection
By Andrew White, Partner and UK & European patent attorney at intellectual property firm, Mathys & Squire The EU Commission...
InsurTech is helping to drive the digital evolution of the UK motor retail industry
By Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO & Founder If the last nine months have made anything clear, it is that the...
Five ways enterprises are using the public cloud
By Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at Contino The public cloud is the most significant enabler in a generation. It’s causing a...
Another ‘new normal’? Five challenges CTOs will face in 2021
By Amit Dattani, Director of Technology at Conosco We’re one year into the new decade, and arguably technology has guided...
An inside look at how both the global pandemic and the March and November 5th National Lockdowns are affecting mental health within the workforce
By Lianne Harrington, Director SMP Healthcare Ltd Part One: Real life insights into the deteriorating mental health of three employees...
Data Unions, fisherfolk and DeFi
By Ruby Short, Streamr In the fintech world it seems every month there’s a new trend or terminology to get...
Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19
Organizations in the Middle East have had to take immediate actions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shifting...
One in five insurance customers saw an improvement in customer service over lockdown, research shows
SAS research reveals that insurers improved their customer experience during lockdown One in five insurance customers noted an improvement in...
ECOMMPAY expands Open Banking payments solution to Europe
Open Banking by ECOMMPAY facilitates fast, secure and simple payments International payment service provider and direct bank card acquirer, ECOMMPAY, has...