NEWS17 June 2020

Creative industries study highlights pandemic impact on advertising and research

Covid-19 Media News UK

UK – The advertising and market research industries could experience a £19bn drop in turnover this year, according to an analysis commissioned by the Creative Industries Federation.


The study on the projected economic impact of Covid-19, conducted by Oxford Economics, projects a combined revenue drop of £74bn for the UK’s creative industries in 2020.

Creative industries GVA (gross value added) was projected to fall by £29bn (-25%) this year.

The potential £19bn drop in turnover for the ad and market research sector, down 44% compared with 2019, was calculated using Oxford Economics’ forecasting, based on data from the Advertising Association and Warc and from a survey of Creative Industries Federation members.

The analysis also projected potential job losses of 26% across the advertising and market research industries.

Data previously released by the Ad Association and Warc forecast that spend on advertising would drop by £4bn in 2020 compared with 2019.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive, Creative Industries Federation, said: “Without additional government support, we are heading for a cultural catastrophe. If nothing is done, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country."

Norbury called for the introduction of a ‘cultural renewal fund’ to support the industries hit hardest by Covid-19. 

While London is projected to experience the highest drop in overall creative industries GVA, with a £14.6bn ( 25%) shortfall, Scotland and north-east England are expected to be hit hardest relatively, according to the report, with projected GVA decreases of 39% (£1.7 bn) and 37% (£400m) respectively.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive, Advertising Association, said: "We are working closely with government to protect and rebuild the UK’s advertising industry, both within the UK as a vital engine of our economy, but also as a global hub with international trading partners. Top of the list is how a tax credit for advertising could help get the UK economy rapidly firing on all cylinders again."

The Institute for Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has backed the Ad Association’s call for a tax credit for advertising.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair said: "It is essential that agencies continue to assert the value of advertising in transforming businesses and ensure they have the most skilled and diverse teams in place to prosper. Recovery starts in recession. Spending in tough times may raise eyebrows in the boardroom but in the long term the hard data proves it is more than worth the investment."

The Creative Industries Federation conducted a survey of its members between 27 March-6 April, collating data on current and projected industry losses during 2020.