Consulting market

Over the past few decades, the global consulting market has grown to become a multi-billion dollar industry. The industry has not only grown in size, stature and international reach, it has also navigated its way through several cycles of professionalisation, making it one of the more developed segments within the professional services industry today. 

Despite the relatively mature state of the market, the large variety of services (industries, functional areas, market/region focus) that span the consulting industry make it challenging to arrive at a clear-cut consensus on how the market should be defined. Representative bodies (e.g. the MCA in the UK) and analyst firms (e.g. ALM Intelligence, Gartner, etc) all use different market definitions, and the estimates for the size of the consulting market differ substantially as a result, ranging from just over $100 billion up to $280 billion.

For instance, ALM Intelligence, a US-based analyst firm that has been tracking the consulting market since the '70s, finds that the global management consulting market is worth around $240 billion, while FEACO – the European Federation of Management Consultancies Associations (founded in 1960) – estimates the market value at nearly $280 billion. Source Global Research, a UK-based analyst firm, provides a most conservative estimate of $120 billion, partly due to the fact that the firm focuses on the top segment of management consultancy. Gartner believes that total consulting fee income hovers around $131 billion. 

The 'gap' between the estimates follows from different scoping of markets, varying definitions applied for consulting services, differences in regions/markets considered and the nature of calculation models used among others.

To ensure data consistency throughout the 'Consulting Industry' chapter, unless otherwise specified, follows the methodology of ALM Intelligence, the most cited source globally. See the page 'Market Segments' for details.