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Report: UK adspend up despite Brexit uncertainty

January 28, 2019

Adspend in the UK increased 5.1 per cent year-on-year to reach £5.6 billion (€6.45bn) in Q3 2018, delivering the strongest third quarter performance since 2015 and the 21st consecutive quarter of market growth.

That is according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, which notes that the record investment in Q3 2018 underpins a preliminary estimate of 6 per cent ad market growth last year, to £23.5 billion.

Spending on digital advertising was a major driver of the overall increase, having grown by an estimated 13.4 per cent in 2018, with expectations that online spend will grow a further 9.8 per cent in 2019.

And within digital adspend, mobile recorded a growth rate of 23.6 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2018 and is expected to increase 20.2 per cent over the course of this year.

Total TV spend was flat during the quarter, despite an 11.5 per cent rise in video-on-demand revenue for UK broadcasters, while radio (+5 per cent), and out of home (+7.3 per cent) recorded strong growth year-on-year.

Overall adspend growth is forecast to slow to 4.6 per cent in 2019, although this assumes that the UK is able to secure a withdrawal agreement from the EU that keeps business disruption to a minimum.

“UK advertising continues to perform strongly, now delivering its 21st straight quarter of growth and demonstrating the commitment of British advertisers to investing in the growth and success of their businesses,” said Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association.

“As the clock ticks down to our departure from the EU, it is crucial the Government provides the certainty we are all seeking in business. We are predicting continued adspend growth of 4.6 per cent in 2019 and an agreement with the EU that keeps disruption at a minimum and keeps trade and talent flowing will greatly help this growth.”

Also commenting on the year ahead, James McDonald, Data Editor at WARC said: “Our projection of 4.6 per cent growth in the UK’s ad market this year is firmly based on a business-favourable outcome from the EU withdrawal agreement, and would mark a decade of continuous expansion since the last advertising recession.

“Further, a preliminary estimate of 6 per cent growth in advertising investment last year represents a faster rate of expansion than was recorded in 2017, and is therefore indicative of an industry in rude heath. This is particularly true in relation to digital ad formats, all of which are currently forecast to attract higher levels of investment in 2019,” McDonald concluded.

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