The AAR has released a report analysing new-business moves in 2000, based on information from its newbizmoves database. The data confirms that dotcoms, despite suffering from negative press, dominated new business last year.
The research also shows that though the total number of new-business moves was down by 15 per cent from the previous year (from 698 to 597), the value of this business rose from pounds 2.4 billion to pounds 3.2 billion - a rise of 37 per cent.
More than 23 per cent of new-business moves last year were related to the internet. This compared with only 9 per cent in 1999.
The owner of the AAR, Martin Jones, said: 'I think it will come as no surprise because of the sheer number of dotcoms that were starting up and needed agencies.'
These clients included Letsbuyit.com, which went to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Ask Jeeves, which launched through Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper before hiring TBWA/London and Monster.com, which hired Saatchi & Saatchi.
But Jones warned that this situation was unlikely to be repeated in 2001: 'It doesn't take a genius to work out that it won't be the same this year. I am sure that a number of agencies would have been burnt (by relying on dotcom business). I am equally sure that the more sensible agencies began to see the writing on the wall a long time ago.'
Jones also had criticism for agency billings claims when it came to publicising new-media account wins: 'The way that agencies were inflating the claimed billings was amazing. The disparity between the initial figures and the spend was extreme.'
Other trends noted were the fact that there was a three-fold increase in the number of clients moving without a pitch, up from 5 per cent to 16 per cent. The number of retail clients halved between 1999 and 2000.