Activities of the PRSJ

Public Relations Society of Japan conducts seventh PR Industry Survey

PR industry worth an estimated 129 billion yen in FY2018, up 27 points from FY2016


The Public Relations Society of Japan (PRSJ) recently completed its seventh PR Industry Survey. Conducted every two years, the research aims to gain insights into the latest industry trends and estimate total sales figures, based on business data collected from PR companies.


The survey was sent to a total of 202 companies, including 180 PRSJ members and 22 non-members, in PR and PR-related industries, garnering 71 valid responses (with a response rate of 35.1%, down from 37.3% in the previous survey).


The 2019 survey indicated that the PR industry was worth approximately 129.0 billion yen in fiscal 2018, a substantial increase from approximately 101.6 billion yen in 20162. Representing industry growth of around 27.3 billion yen, or approximately 27 points, the results point to an expanding PR market, and demonstrate that companies and organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of PR activities in a diversifying media environment.


  1. Overall industry worth was estimated based on the total turnover of companies that responded to the survey, taking into account factors such as median number of employees.
  2. 2016 sales figures come from 2017 PR Industry Survey.


Below is an outline of the survey results.


PR Industry Survey overview

  • Sample: 202 companies (180 PRSJ member companies and 22 non-member companies)
  • Method: postal survey
  • Response rate: 35.1%
  • Survey period: January–February 2019
  • Survey conducted by: Hummingbird


Average PR company profile (dedicated PR agencies)

  • Average number of employees: 60.7 (vs. 44.8 in 2017)
    Median number of employees: 18
  • Employee male-to-female ratio: 46:54 (consistent with previous trends)
  • Average percentage of women in managerial positions: 9.6%
  • Average number of planned new hires for spring 2019: 8.5 (vs. 3.9 in 2017)


Future performance and business outlook

Compared to the 2017 survey, 2019 results hinted at a more cautious outlook with regard to both sales and the future economic climate.

  • 59% of respondents expected sales to increase, down from 64% in 2017.
  • 34% of respondents described the current economic outlook as “good,” down from 41% in 2017.
    39% (40% in 2017) believed that the situation would “remain unchanged or plateau,” while 14% expected circumstances to worsen, up from 7% in 2017.


Trends in PR Practice


  • Most common types of PR services provided (multiple answers permitted)
Publicity planning and execution 83%
Mass media relations 79%
PR consultancy services on retainer 78%
Press conferences/PR event planning and management 76%
Monitoring and clipping 75%
Information gathering and analysis 72%
Sponsored editorial content 69%
Measurement of PR effectiveness 68%
Marketing consulting services 66%
Social media communications using influencers 66%


  • Fastest-growing services since previous survey
    (multiple answers permitted; 2017 survey results shown in parentheses)
Social media communications using influencers 66% (53%)
Healthcare communications services 38% (26%)
Corporate brochure & website production 63% (53%)


  • Top 10 services for which demand is expected to increase (multiple answers permitted)
Social media communications using influencers 68%
Planning and management of owned and social media 62%
Video production and promotion 52%
Crisis management-related media training 45%
Crisis management consulting 45%
Marketing consulting services 44%
Measurement of PR effectiveness 44%
Planning and management of events for influencers 42%
Branding services 42%
Social listening 39%
Crisis management PR 39%
Global PR 39%



  • While publicity work and media relations continue to rank firmly at the top of the list of most-offered services, social media communications, such as influencer initiatives, are clearly taking on greater prominence.
  • Among services for which demand is set to increase, utilization of owned media ranked highly, as did video production and promotion, supporting the idea that internet-based PR activities are on the rise.


Challenges in PR practice/company management


  • Challenges in PR practice

When asked about current important challenges in PR practice, the most frequent responses were “training and securing human resources,” “developing new PR methods,” and “improving services,” results that echoed the findings of the previous survey.

(Multiple answers permitted; 2017 survey results shown in parentheses)


Training and securing human resources 80% (83%)
Developing new PR methods 55% (66%)
Improving services 45% (55%)
Securing good partners/subcontractors 44% (34%)
Developing methods to measure the effectiveness of PR activities 38% (32%)
Diversifying service areas 38% (40%)


  • Challenges in company management

The top three challenges in company management were “boosting sales,” “improving employee motivation,” and “securing highly capable mid-career hires,” followed by “work-style reform” and “training managerial-level successors.”

(Multiple answers permitted; 2017 survey results shown in parentheses)


Boosting sales 65% (66%)
Improving employee motivation 52% (61%)
Securing highly capable mid-career hires 44% (49%)
Work-style reform 42% (50%)
Training managerial-level successors 39% (30%)


2019/06/24  | 日本パブリックリレーションズ協会
Categories:Activities of the PRSJ