French consulting market grows at its fastest rate for over a decade.Consultants are very positive about prospects for 2018

The election of President Macron boosted business confidence and helped the French consulting market grow at its fastest rate for over a decade – up 6.2 per cent to €4.55bn in 2017.

Consulting growth was recorded across every sector in 2017, with revenues growing the fastest in retail (up 9.7 per cent to €375m) as the unrelenting rise of e-commerce continued to disrupt traditional brick-and-mortar business models. France’s largest consulting market—financial services—saw the third-fastest growth rate, as ongoing transformation programmes and a heavy regulatory burden continued to drive demand.

These findings are published today (17th April 2018) in a new report from Source Global Research, the leading research and strategy firm for the global management consulting industry. The Source report also reveals that digitisation was a hot topic in the consulting market in France, with clients making big investments in far-reaching digital initiatives. RPA was at the forefront of consultants’ digital work as clients, particularly those in financial services, looked for opportunities to streamline processes and cut costs in the back office.

While not yet generating huge revenues, consultants also saw a rise in the amount of data & analytics work as clients looked to understand what can be done with data and how to do it.

B.J. Richards, Senior Editor from Source Global Research said:

“The election of President Macron in May and his party’s success in parliamentary elections in June boosted client confidence, resulting in increased spending and stronger consulting demand in the second half of the year. Pent-up demand was released as clients began taking up long-delayed initiatives and had a new-found willingness to pursue big projects.”

Eric Mouchous, Partner, Advisory Lead for France, Maghreb and Luxembourg at EY, added:

“One reason the market is buoyant is because clients that were postponing projects have realised that they can’t freeze these initiatives anymore. It’s especially true for digital transformation projects: Clients fear that if they wait any longer, they’ll be the ones being disrupted.”

From a consulting service line perspective, risk & regulatory work grew the fastest in 2017, expanding 8.4 per cent to €657m as regulation remained a reliable source of consulting work and the growing prominence of digitisation brought cybersecurity into greater focus. Technology was the second fastest growing service line, thanks to the importance of technology in the digitisation work clients are undertaking.

Type A firms (largely Big Four accounting firms) saw the fastest growth, benefiting both from strong regulatory demand and their substantial investments in technology services and end-to-end delivery capabilities. Strategy and technology firms also experienced healthy levels of growth.

B.J. Richards from Source added:

“Despite stronger demand, consultants in France still faced stiff competition amid an ongoing shift in the consulting landscape. Technology companies, like Amazon and Microsoft, continued their encroachment into consulting market territory, particularly with their offerings around cloud and data & analytics.”

The Source report concludes that consultants in France are very positive about 2018, as they expect the more buoyant market they enjoyed in the latter half of 2017 will continue throughout this year as clients continue to focus on digitisation and growth.

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