Forecast: UK advertising to hit £21.8bn in 2019

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UK advertising is expected to increase to £21.8 billion (€24.5bn) in 2019, up from £20.5 billion in 2018 according to the latest media and marketing forecasts from GroupM, the media investment group. GroupM forecasts 6.1 per cent growth for 2019, down from 7.8 per cent in 2018.

Other key highlights from GroupM’s forecast include:

  • 2018 was a strong in the world’s fourth-largest advertising economy despite uncertainties: total spending was up +7.8 per cent.
  • 2019 looks to hold up almost as well: +6.1 per cent growth, aided by decent (if decelerating) underlying economic growth. Deceleration should continue into 2020 toward a 4–5 per cent range (forecast +4.6 per cent) as advertising gradually reverts to more normalised growth levels.
  • Planning for Brexit contingencies is occupying management bandwidth, which is affecting ad-budget setting, and could potentially lead to reductions.
  • Digital advertising now accounts for more than 60 per cent of total UK advertising – more than half of which is search – and still growing at a double-digit pace (around +11 per cent forecast for 2019); digital media “pure plays” represent the largest single group of ad sellers, and two entities (Google and Facebook) are probably around three-quarters of this figure on a gross basis.
  • Television has sustained its scale and remains a relatively stable medium in terms of advertising revenues. After hitting a plateau of around £4.5 billion, spending was effectively unchanged in 2018 over 2017 and looks set to remain at that level for 2019 and 2020, still accounting for around 20 per cent of media investment.
  • In Out-of-Home (OOH), digital formats are increasingly important, accounting for half of spending in OOH during 2018, with further share gains still to come especially as more automation takes root, including the emergence of performance-based targeting and data-driven trading. For now, GroupM forecasts growth exceeding +3 per cent in each of 2019 and 2020.
  • Radio also appears set to hold on to its revenue base this year, followed by closer to +2 per cent growth next year.
  • Newspapers and magazines now account for less than 10 per cent of media investment on a combined basis in 2019 and beyond, down from more than 50 per cent as recently as 2004.

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