YouGov shares rocket as polling firm reports bumper profits – and new boss says demand remains strong

YouGov shares rocket as polling firm reports bumper profits – and new boss says demand remains strong

  • Pre-tax profits at the firm skyrocketed by 77% for the year ending July 2023
  • Revenue rose by 17% to £258.3m following solid growth across all regions
  • YouGov’s co-founder Stephan Shakespeare recently became its chairman

YouGov shares soared on Tuesday after the polling organisation reported a massive surge in annual earnings amid testing economic conditions.

They climbed 22.7 per cent to 846.4p by the early afternoon, making them one of the top ten performers on the AIM All-Share Index, recovering much of their late September slump.

Pre-tax profits at the business rocketed 77 per cent to £44.7million for the year ending July 2023, following solid turnover growth across all regions.

Entrepreneur: YouGov chairman Stephan Shakespeare (pictured) set up YouGov 23 years ago with the former Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi

Revenues rose 17 per cent to £258.3million as solid sales of its syndicated data products boosted revenues in the US, YouGov’s largest market, as well as the UK and mainland Europe.

All three territories also provided healthy underlying growth to the firm’s custom research division, with domestic trade buoyed by demand from the sports and financial services sectors.

YouGov noted that while levels of ‘more tactical, fast-turnaround research’ had weakened, customers were still significantly interested in more customised strategic research, such as big multi-country, multi-year tracking surveys.

This came against a far more challenging economic backdrop and a slowdown in the technology sector, although the company has observed sales momentum in the industry ‘starting to return.’

Partly because of this, YouGov said trading since August had been in line with forecasts, and it anticipates meeting market expectations for the current fiscal year.

Steve Hatch, its new chief executive, said: ‘Demand for YouGov’s products and services remains strong with continued new business momentum, high renewal rates and sticky customer relationships.

‘As a result, we remain confident in the group’s prospects for FY24 and beyond, aiming to maintain the strong sales momentum seen over the past year.’

Hatch replaced YouGov’s co-founder and longtime CEO Stephan Shakespeare in August, joining from Facebook’s owner Meta, where he was vice president for operations in Northern Europe.

Shakespeare, now the firm’s chairman, set up YouGov 23 years ago with the former Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi.

The company is well-known for its political polling, accurately predicting the Labour Party’s landslide general election victory in 2001 and Theresa May’s loss of her parliamentary majority in the 2017 election.

But YouGov also sells data on consumer opinions and behaviour to businesses, including carmaker Vauxhall, social media platform TikTok and brewer Molson Coors.

Just before Shakespeare stood down as CEO, YouGov agreed to buy GfK’s consumer panel arm with a goal of expanding ties with Europe’s fast-moving consumer goods sector.

It hopes to complete the deal ‘in the coming months,’ with funding partially coming from a £243million loan arrangement it struck last week with lenders.

In August, Shakespeare told the Financial Times that YouGov was considering a US listing, claiming ‘the markets are better at supporting companies like ours there.’

Should the firm switch its primary listing to New York, it would join drugmaker Okyo Pharma, plumbing products supplier Ferguson, and building materials supplier CRH in making the stateside switch.