Grim global forecast

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LONDON, Today: Global advertising spend is on course to fall by 10.2% – US$63.4bn – to US$557.3bn in 2020 as traditional media have their worst year on record, according to WARC Data.

The details are set out in a new report, WARC Global Advertising Trends: State of The Industry 2020/21, which says it will take at least two years for the global ad market to fully recover.

A forecast 6.7% rise in 2021 will only recoup 59% of 2020’s losses; the market would need to grow by 4.4% in 2022 to match 2019’s peak of US$620.6bn.

WARC head of data content James McDonald (author of the research) said: “2020 was the most hostile year for the advertising economy ever seen in our 40 years of market monitoring.

“2020 was the most hostile year for the advertising economy ever seen in our 40 years.”

“Some platforms – such as e-commerce and social properties – have emerged relatively unscathed, but the vast majority of the media landscape has witnessed a severe material impact.

“An immediate bounce back is not on the horizon. Rising unemployment is set to depress consumption demand well into next year, and though the prospect of a vaccination programme offers cause for optimism among consumers and businesses, it may only be a waypoint in a recovery that stretches years.”

Automotive will see the greatest fall in absolute spending in 2020, losing £11bn, travel & tourism the biggest proportional fall at -33.8%. All product categories are set to increase advertising investment next year, but only three sectors – telecoms & utilities (+10.6%), media & publishing (+8.4%) and business & industrial (+5.3%) – will top their 2019 total.

  • View the full report here (includes trends by product category, plus regional data) here

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