The overall average global IR budget stands at $336,000 in 2022, according to the latest IR Magazine Global Investor Relations Practice Report, representing a marginal increase of just $1,000 from 2021. However, this global stability masks the underlying regional volatility, with increases in North American and European budgets being offset by a sharp fall in Asian budgets.
North American budgets remain the highest, with an overall average of $407,000. This is up $50,000 from 2021 and represents an increase of 14 percent from last year. This is also higher than the 2020 figure but still some way short of the pre-pandemic budget average of $453,000 for North American companies.
European budgets have seen the biggest increase, rising 29 percent to $346,000 and narrowing the gap between North American and European budgets by $28,000. Like North America, European IR budgets are also higher than in 2020, but have not fully recovered to their pre-pandemic levels.
The fact that these budget increases in the biggest economic regions have hardly moved the global figure is due to the size of the fall in Asian IR budgets. The overall figure for Asian budgets has dropped by over $100,000 in the past year, a fall of over 40 percent.
Budget increases fell back
IR budgets in Asia actually rose from 2020 to 2021, while those for North American and European companies fell. Nevertheless, Asian budgets have more than halved since 2019 and this year’s figure is the lowest overall average for any region since IR Magazine began reporting in 2011.
The fortunes of IR budgets are mixed when viewed by company size. Globally, small and large cap IR budgets have increased, having witnessed a decrease the previous year. And while IR budgets at mid-cap and mega-cap companies increased from 2020 to 2021, they have both fallen back in 2022.
European IR budgets have risen at every cap size and Asian budgets have fallen no matter what market cap. IR budgets for North American companies have increased from small to large cap, but North American mega-caps have seen their budgets drop.
The IR budgetary figures in this research do not include travel and so are not directly affected by the lifting of travel restrictions. But the resumption of travel in North America and Europe, while Asian restrictions remained, will inevitably have had an indirect effect on IR budget plans.
The outlook for IR budgets in Asia may appear gloomy, but the experiences in North America and Europe can offer signs of hope. While IR budgets have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, the increases seen in the regions where restrictions have lifted is a welcome sign for future resources.
The full IR Magazine Global Investor Relations Practice Report is available to advanced subscribers of IR Magazine, while a global overview of the report is available to essential subscribers.Click to read Global Investor Relations Practice Report Sample 2022