NEWS30 April 2021

Ad market forecast to grow this year

Covid-19 Media News UK

UK – Advertising spend in the UK is expected to increase by 15.2% to £27bn in 2021, driven by online advertising, according to the most recent quarterly expenditure report by the Advertising Association/Warc.

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Spend on advertising decreased by 7.2% to £23.5bn in 2020, according to the latest dataset, but rose 2.6% in the fourth quarter.

Advertisers shifted spend into online video, social media and search in 2020, according to the data, partly reflecting the growth in e-commerce as people purchased from home.

The estimated growth in ad spend for 2021 would recover the £1.8bn decline seen in the market last year, but full recovery of the market is not expected until 2022, according to the analysis. 

The Advertising Association and Warc forecast that the media channels most adversely affected by the pandemic will experience the biggest growth this year – cinema (+266.8%), digital out of home (+52.3%) and traditional out of home advertising (+14.5%).

Online display, including social media and online video, and paid search, are forecast to grow and account for two-thirds ( 66.4%) of UK ad spend.

However, other media, including TV, direct mail, national news, regional news and magazine brands, are not expected to recover 2020’s losses this year.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive, Advertising Association, said: “Advertising investment has mirrored the rapid changes seen across the economy over the last year, primarily the acceleration provided by lockdowns towards e-commerce across all sectors able to sell online.

“The predicted growth this year of 15.2% is good news. With every £1 of advertising spend generating £6 of GDP, this will be a welcome boost for jobs and growth in the wider economy.”

The review includes the AA/Warc’s quarterly survey of national newspapers and regional newspaper data collated with Local Media Works and magazine statistics from Warc’s panels. Data for other media channels are compiled in conjunction with UK industry trade bodies.

The report combines data from the discontinued print publications the Quarterly Survey of Advertising Expenditure and the Advertising Forecast. 

James McDonald, head of data content, Warc, said:“Save for a flock of online pure-players, the majority of media owners surveyed by Warc experienced their worst trading climate in living memory. This was true at both the financial and the human level – many will not witness a full recovery until 2022 at the earliest.

“Agile formats with short lead times were seen to flourish last year, particularly within social media and e-commerce environments. Media owners in these spaces are expected to build on good 2020 results this year, though the situation will be more challenging across the remainder of the landscape as ad investment continues to favour performance marketing.”