YouGov sales grow despite election forecast failure

Polling and research agency YouGov has seen its annual revenues grow, despite failing to predict the result of the UK general election.

Pollsters failed to predict the election victory for the Conservatives, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, seen here with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty

The firm – which collects consumer and political data in Europe, the US and Asia – said sales jumped 13 per cent to £76.1 million in the year to the end of July, while statutory pre-tax profit lifted almost four times to £2.7m.

YouGov, in common with other polling bodies, failed to predict the victory for the Conservatives in the May election.

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It said: “This was a reminder to the entire industry that we must treat each result as an opportunity to learn and to adapt our methodology.”

The firm said it would compile a report on its UK general election coverage, to be published at its Cambridge annual conference in November.

It also added that sales in the UK grew 18% to £22.9 million, helped by the media coverage of its polling at the UK general election and last year’s Scottish referendum, where again most pollsters failed to predict the wide margin of the No vote.

YouGov said: “The widespread media coverage of Scottish referendum and general election polling stimulated the flow of inquiries from a wide range of corporate and agency clients.”

The firm added that its international business also had a strong year, with its US operation growing revenue by 18% to £25.9 million.

It also flagged encouraging growth in the Asia-Pacific region after expanding into new offices in Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney during the period.

Chief executive Stephan Shakespeare said: “We are pleased to report another year of strong organic revenue and profit growth reflecting clients’ demand for our portfolio of global data products as well as for our custom research services.”

Edison Investment Research analyst Fiona Orford-Williams called the results “a strong set of figures.”

She added: “The company continues to produce healthy amounts of cash, which supports its investment into new products.”