British Advertisers Spent 7% Less in Q4 2001

12 March 2002

UK advertising expenditure fell by 6.9%, or £263 million ($371.94m; €426.02m), in the fourth quarter of 2001 compared with the same period of 2000, according to the Advertising Association’s Quarterly Survey of Advertising Expenditure. The figures accurately reflect adspend levels less ratecard discounts.

Key points from the study are …

National newspaper adspend during the quarter fell by 17.5%, or £103m, year-on-year. ‘Popular’ nationals registered a fall of 13% and ‘quality’ nationals were down 27%. For the whole of 2001, the sector was down 8% on 2000 to just over £2 billion. Display and classified advertising fell by similar magnitudes, but within classified, ‘recruitment’ adspend saw a sharp decrease, down by 19%, or £68m, while ‘property’ advertising rose by 31%, or £7m.

Regional newspaper adspend saw no change compared with the same quarter of 2000. For the year as a whole, all regionals grew by 2.6% to £2.8bn, with the daily and Sunday papers showing weakest growth (up 1%), while paid-for weeklies and free papers did a little better increasing by 5% and 3% respectively.

Classified advertising. Compared with the nationals, classified advertising in all regional newspapers held up well, ending the year 4% higher than in 2000. The fourth quarter, however, saw a 4% decline in regional ‘recruitment’ classified, which had grown strongly in the three previous quarters.

Television adspend fell for the fourth successive quarter, by 13% or £142m. For the whole of 2001, TV adspend was £3.5bn, an 11% decrease on 2000. This represents a loss of £425m in advertising revenue for the TV industry, depressing the 2001 total to below 1999’s level.

Radio adspend decreased by 14% in the fourth quarter and by 9% for the whole of 2001. Total radio advertising, excluding sponsorship, was £487m in 2001.

Outdoor adspend fell sharply in the fourth quarter, by 13%, and ended 2001 down 3% at £677m.

Direct mail expenditure grew by 11% in the fourth quarter and by 9% for the whole year, totalling £2.2bn.

Product Sectors. Adspend in individual product sectors varies widely from quarter to quarter. Over the whole year, the office equipment category, which includes advertising by computer manufacturers and retailers, saw the steepest decline, falling by 29%, or £170m. At the other end of the spectrum, the combined Government, charity and education sector grew strongly up by 12%, or £20m, the fastest growth occurring in the run-up to the General Election.

The AA’s Quarterly Survey of Advertising Expenditure is researched and compiled by the World Advertising Research Center. It is available both to members and non-members on annual subscription (

Data sourced from: World Advertising Research Center