Russia Tops 2002 Ad Growth Table with 51% Surge in Spend

05 February 2003

In stark contrast to its Western counterparts, the Russian ad industry is booming, judging by new adspend totals released by the Russian Advertising Agencies Association.

A total of $2.68 billion (€2.47bn; £1.63bn) was spent on ads last year, a massive 51% leap on the 2001 total, making Russia the fastest-growing advertising market in the world. The best-performing medium was television, where ad revenues rocketed 76% to $900 million.

By way of comparison, US adspend edged up only 1.3% last year according to Zenith Optimedia, while it fell by 1% in Britain and France and by 5% in Germany.

With election campaigns due in 2003, Russia's growth shows no signs of stopping, the RAAA predicting a 50% surge to $4bn this year (though Zenith forecasts a slightly more modest 41% jump).

The Russian economy performed well in 2002, growing 4% thanks to the rising price of oil. Consumer spending is up, and advertisers are scrambling to take advantage.

Moreover, big-budget advertising is increasingly the domain of domestic firms as well as multinationals. Over 60% of total spend came from Russian companies last year.

However, in relative terms the nation’s ad market has some way to go – total advertising expenditure represents only around $19 per capita, well below the $500 spent in the US. Said Zenith analyst Jonathan Barnard: “Ad spending is only 0.6% of [gross domestic product] – about half of what you'd expect in a developed industrial country.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff