Advertising spend levels plummet in Japan

23 February 2010

TOKYO: Advertising expenditure declined by 11.5% in Japan last year, figures from Dentsu, the agency holding group, show.

The marketing services conglomerate said that total adspend stood at ¥5.92 trillion ($64.6bn; €47.5bn; £41.8bn) in the Asian nation in 2009, following on from a more modest contraction of 4.7% in 2008.

Conditions did improve slightly in the second half of the year, helped by the general election and the introduction of tax breaks for eco-friendly cars, but the overall climate remained challenging, it added.

By medium, television recorded a 10.2% dip in advertising revenues for the year as a whole, to ¥1.71trn, having experienced a slide of 4.4% in 2008.

Magazines were off by a more substantial 25.6% last year, to ¥303.4 billion, as were newspapers, by 18.6% to ¥673.9bn, and radio, by 11.6% to ¥137 billion.

The internet posted a 1.2% uptick in sales, to ¥706.9 billion, a trend driven by growth in online search and mobile web ads, as the display market witnessed continuing softness.

With regard to "traditional media" – television, newspapers, magazines and radio – some 20 of the 21 sectors assessed by Dentsu reined in their outlay on an annual basis.

Only the government and related organisations boosted their investment, up 4.6%, largely as a result of the elections for the House of Representatives held in August.

Categories where spending dropped dramatically included automotive, down 30%, financial services, down 28.9%, real estate and construction, down 23.6%, and apparel and fashion, down 19.6%.

The information and communications segment, which houses products such as mobile phones and personal computers, also delivered a reduction of 15.8%.

Food brands slipped by 4.3%, with heightened spending on health foods and goods like instant noodles failing to offset declines elsewhere.

Cosmetics and toiletries companies cut back by 6.1%, as did beverages and cigarettes firms, by 8%, and household goods manufacturers, by 3.4%.

More broadly, classified advertising contracted by 28.2%, as recruitment levels slowed over the course of 2009.

As previously reported, the Nikkei Advertising Reserch Institute has predicted advertising expenditure for the 2009 financial year will drop by 14.3% in Japan.

Data sourced from Dentsu; additional content by Warc staff