UK Online Adspend Growth Set to Take 'Big Hit' in 2009

18 December 2008

LONDON: Emulating A G Lafley's dictum ("P&G is recession-resistant but not recession-proof"), UK online advertising growth will run into a brick wall in 2009 – or so predicts internet research specialist eMarketer.

Just seven months ago the researcher's crystal ball foretold a year-on-year sector growth rate of 17.2% through 2009. But in the stark light of reality such wishful thinking is ousted, prompting a massive downward revision to less than half May's estimate.

eMarketer's latest guess is that UK online advertising will expand by just 7.2%, in cash terms an uplift equivalent to £3.58 billion ($5.48bn; €3.97bn). Nonetheless, a growth rate that for any other media sector would seem like walking on water.

Even at the best of times, long-term adspend forecasting is a science roughly on a par with the I Ching – and these are not the best of times.

However, this faiked to deter eMarketer from divining that the UK online ad market will begin to recover within two years ... "but slowly". Come 2010, it should achieve 10% year-on-year growth to £3.94bn; and a 12.3% rise in 2011 to £4.43bn.

In 2012, cyber-adland will look to the London Olympics for salvation, with digital growth forecast to surge by 14.6% to just over £5bn. But hedging its psychic bets, eMarketer warns: "If more severe financial shocks arrive at year-end 2008 or in 2009, recovery may take longer."

The rate of growth will slow in 2013, to 10.8% – but the UK digital media market will still be worth £5.62bn.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff