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Market Updates | 19th August 2022

The pandemic is accelerating the pace of change right across the professional services sector, amplifying pre-crisis trends as well as triggering entirely new ones. We’ll be keeping tabs on these over the coming months: We’ll be reporting back on what clients are telling us and how we see different segments of the professional services sector perform, as well as highlighting emerging opportunities and challenges. As always, we’ll be taking a fact-based approach. Our market sizing data comes from our unique model of the professional services sector, with more than $1tn of revenues broken down by sector, geography, and capability. Our forecasts are constantly updated to reflect the latest market data we have available from firms and their clients. Client data comes from our rolling programme of quantitative research and interviews.

Data & analytics: The key to successfully responding to economic uncertainty?

For clients weighing up how to deal with high inflation and fuel costs, the threat of recession, and the other difficulties currently facing businesses, their most important is information. That was the lesson of the pandemic, and it remains just as true today, despite significant investment in data & analytics over the last two years. This will translate into higher-than-average growth for professional services firms—but it’s not without its own challenges. 

In 2016, the global market for data & analytics services was worth just under $40bn, equivalent to around 5% of the professional services industry. But by 2019, growth in this market had slowed to slightly below the market average as clients–realising that these skills were likely to be core to their organisations–began to reduce their reliance on external support. However, data we gathered in 2020 suggested that lack of up-to-date, robust, and timely data was the biggest practical issue organisations faced. Consumption and other models, honed over years, could no longer be relied on. It’s a picture that’s reinforced when we look at our market data. As a consequence, demand for data & analytics contracted less than the rest of the market and has recovered more quickly. We’re also forecasting demand for data & analytics work to stay relatively high, even as the market average returns to more normal levels by 2024. Between 2020 and 2024, we expect the size of the data & analytics market to have increased by half, to $71bn. 

This forecast is based on data from clients, 54% of whom say that their data & analytics functions will be one of the three areas within their organisations where they’ll be making the greatest investment over the course of the next 18 months. In some geographies (France, China, the Gulf region) and some sectors (energy, resources & utilities, technology, media & telecoms) the proportion is even higher. More specifically, with rising fuel and other costs threatening individuals’ discretionary purchases, clients are investing to ensure they have better, more up-to-date information on consumer behaviour, and on being able to forecast demand more accurately, both at the overall level and for specific products and services.  

However, clients remain keen to minimise their use of external support. One in five organisations is investing now in order to improve their in-house analytics capabilities for the future. Almost as many are trying to automate more, including some of their analysis. This means that, while there’s good news for professional services firms in that a third of clients say they’re likely to use significantly more external support in the data & analytics area over the course of the next 12 months, almost one in six organisations say it’s the area they’re least likely to look for help in because they’ve already been building up their own capabilities.  

The data & analytics opportunity is therefore something of a double-edged sword. For professional services firms there’s the tantalising prospect of higher-than-average growth but tinged with the threat that clients may poach the best people. It’s tempting to say that suppliers’ advantage will lie in their deep expertise, but that competitive edge will be hard to maintain at a time when client organisations are willing to pay top-dollar for analytics skillsets. Having alliances with specialist analytics firms and software companies will be critical, as it won’t make sense for clients to try and replicate the scale and depth of such relationships. But the key will probably lie in professional services firms’ ability to create proprietary software tools, which help to differentiate them not only from other firms, but also from clients’ in-house resources.  

Although such tools will require time and investment, the data & analytics market is likely to remain strong while economic uncertainty remains high and consumer behaviour remains unpredictable—which probably means for quite a long time. 

If you are a journalist or work for a news organisation and would like to reference our data, please get in touch with David Pippett at

All updates

Data & analytics: The key to successfully responding to economic uncertainty? 15th August, 2022
The talent crisis in professional services: still here 5th August, 2022
Investment in transformation remains strong, but will professional firms be able to leverage this? 22nd July, 2022
Economic uncertainty starts to take its toll 8th July, 2022
Professional services firms need to start adapting to a multi-shock world 24th June, 2022
Anticipating a slight slowdown in the rate of growth 10th June, 2022
The impact of the professional services market pandemic recedes, but slowly 20th May, 2022
The outlook for professional services by sector in 2022 6th May, 2022
Strategy consulting in an age of crisis 22nd April, 2022
How the Russia-Ukraine war may change client needs 1st April, 2022
Initial thoughts on the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war 18th March, 2022
Tax services: Who stands to benefit from post-crisis growth? 4th March, 2022
Demand for professional services in the healthcare market: Growth through specialisation 18th February, 2022
Productivity improvement consulting and the impact of an inflationary environment 4th February, 2022
The impact of Omicron—and what this tells us about the professional services market in 2022 21st January, 2022
The top three sectors for professional service firms in 2022 26th November, 2021
What price recovery? 11th November, 2021
Supply chain shocks: What impact will they have on demand for consulting? 28th October, 2021
The Central & South America professional services market: In a permanent state of “recovery”? 15th October, 2021
Delivering a more tangible professional service 1st October, 2021
Professional services in the GCC: Post-pandemic resurgence 17th September, 2021
Trying to solve the consulting industry’s value problem 3rd September, 2021
The post-pandemic financial services market 20th August, 2021
Programme management: Why does a potentially valuable service underperform? 6th August, 2021
The consulting market in H1 2021: Outperforming expectations 23rd July, 2021
Pharma and life sciences: From strength to strength 9th July, 2021
Operational improvement services 25th June, 2021
Important lessons from Australia 11th June, 2021
Betting on risk 28th May, 2021
Strong performance in the consulting industry in Q1 2021 14th May, 2021
A fast recovery in the US professional services market 30th April, 2021
How fast will the public sector market for professional services grow in 2021? 16th April, 2021

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