NEWS18 October 2017

Marketing budgets ‘paralysed’ by uncertainty

Brexit Financials News Trends UK

UK – Marketing budgets are paralysed by economic uncertainty, with market research spend falling for the ninth quarter in a row, according to the latest Bellwether report from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

UK money

Almost 70% of companies surveyed for the quarterly report have kept their marketing budgets at the same level as three months ago, in response to economic and political uncertainty.

The Q3 survey found that 21% of companies on the panel had noted an upward revision to their overall marketing budgets during the survey period, while 11% recorded a cut. The resulting net balance of +9.9% was notably down on Q2’s +13.1%, and the lowest reading since the first quarter of 2016.

The report features original data drawn from a panel of 300 marketing professionals. Panellists cited the impact of Brexit negotiations and the UK’s future departure from the EU as reasons for their uncertainty, coupled with reports of reduced investment and clients’ desire to keep costs lean.

The report also signalled a ninth successive quarterly fall in market research spend, indicating continued under-performance when compared with overall marketing budgets.

Around 12% of panellists noted a downward revision to market research budgets, compared with just over 10% who recorded growth. The resulting net balance of -2.4% makes market research the only Bellwether category to register a net reduction in spend during Q3.

Earlier in the year, a net balance of -2.9% of companies in the survey predicted a reduction in market research budgets during the 2017/18 financial year as a whole.

Almost 24% of marketers were less confident about the financial prospects for the overall industry compared to three months ago, while 29% of the survey panel had grown more confident about their own company’s financial prospects.

The report also predicts a muted rise in adspend for 2017, at 0.6%, with no growth expected in 2018.

Paul Bainsfair, director general at the IPA, said: "What strikes us most from this quarter’s report is the extent to which UK companies – and their marketing budgets – are caught up in wider economic and geo-political uncertainty. The vast majority are in a seeming state of paralysis, reflected in the fact that almost 70% of UK marketers haven’t revised their budgets one way or another from this quarter to last."