Germany's PR market, by most estimates, ranks as one of the world's biggest. The industry may be dominated by a proliferation of small and medium-sized in-house departments and agencies but it certainly does not suffer from a lack of professionalism. There are no fewer than three PR trade bodies, with considerable attention paid to such areas as ethics and education.
According to one trade body, the DPRG, there are some 40,000-50,000 PR practitioners in Germany. While 2009 was a tough year for the industry, with some estimating a market slump of approximately 15 per cent, along with the rest of the German economy, the PR industry has recovered well.
Industry insiders report that client understanding of – and enthusiasm for – PR is growing. They say that for many years German businesspeople did not see PR as as an essential part of the marketing mix, much less as a key factor in whether a company succeeded or failed. Yet over the past decade it has gained more acceptance, responsibility and budget. And this has not only happened in corporate PR; brand PR and viral campaigns are also becoming more important. Public affairs is a more restricted area. Firms are able to exert influence over regulation and capital markets issues, but few consultancies are involved in lobbying, mainly because it tends to be handled by trade associations.