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Data: UK adspend hits £9.6bn

January 25, 2024

Advertising spend in the UK beat expectations in the third quarter of 2023, according to the latest quarterly data from WARC and the Advertising Association, driven by search and online display spending.

Key figures

The AA/WARC report finds that spend rose by 15.9 per cent to a total of £9.6 billion (€11.2bn) for the period July to September 2023. This marks the first time that advertising spend in Q3 has exceeded the £9 billion mark.

  • The UK advertising market is now thought to have grown by 6.4 per cent in 2023, reaching a total of £37 billion for the year, which represents a sizeable 3.8pp upgrade from the previous forecast.
  • The projection for advertising spend this year has been upwardly revised to £39 billion, equating to a year-on-year increase of 5.9 per cent.

2024 forecasts

TV advertising is set to return to positive figures – up 1.4 per cent year-on-year – mostly driven by increases in BVoD (+14.6 per cent). Other expected growth areas include:

  • Radio (+2.1 per cent)
  • Online channels of national newsbrands (+2.1 per cent)
  • Regional newsbrands (+1.1 per cent)
  • Magazine media (+2.3 per cent)

Key growth areas

Search marked its strongest performance in 18 months rising by 23.7 per cent and online display followed suit with a 24.8 per cent increase, also achieving its highest gain in the same period.

For comparison, online growth in France was approximately 5 per cent during the quarter, while the UK grew 4.6 times faster at 22.3 per cent.

Online retailers increased their online ad spend in the UK market by 156 per cent during Q3 2023 as competition for household budgets increased.

Spend on broadcaster video on-demand (BVoD) increased by 28.4 per cent, reflecting in part the role on-demand viewing played during the Women’s FIFA World Cup.

Expert comment

With the UK’s economy in the doldrums, the online ad sector’s strongest performance in over 18 months – growing five times faster than in key European markets – came as a welcome respite for an ad industry worth a record £37 billion overall last year.

“Data show that online retailers more than doubled their online advertising spend during the third quarter, as pricing became competitive and brand salience paramount when attracting stretched household budgets,” notes James McDonald, Director of Data, Intelligence & Forecasting, WARC. “Our expectations for 2024 are now brighter on the tailwind of a strong end to last year and positive sentiment across the marketing and wider business sectors.”

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