While global adspend on desktop internet has stagnated at around $112bn – and is likely to decline further from this year onwards – Warc calculates that $90bn will be spent on mobile-specific ads in 2017, or 44% of all online ad investment.
Advertising budgets allocated to both mobile social formats and mobile video are also growing rapidly around the world and they are expected to be worth $28bn and $10bn respectively in 2017. Meanwhile, adspend on mobile search is rocketing and is on course to reach $40bn by the end of next year, a near doubling from 2015's level.
However, despite the rapid gains being made by mobile spend, the report forecasts that overall global adspend growth will ease to 3.7% next year with almost all regions witnessing a slowdown.
Warc's global adspend outlook is based on actual advertising expenditure across 93 markets, collected via an annual survey of monitoring organisations and ad industry bodies, and combined with broader GDP and consumer spend forecasts from the OECD and IMF.
Looking at the advertising industry's prospects at a regional level, Warc expects that North America will maintain its position as the largest region by expenditure, with the world's largest advertising market, the US, accounting for around one-third of total global adspend growth this year.
Ad expenditure across North America is expected to increase 4.7% in 2016 before the region's growth rate slows to 2.5% in 2017, by when advertising investment will account for a record $192bn.
It is expected that an additional $3bn will be spent on TV advertising in the US this year, pushing the annual total for the medium to an all-time high of $66.5bn. The US presidential campaigns and Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games will drive domestic ad growth.
Although North America is set to maintain its dominance, the fastest growth will be seen in Asia-Pacific where adspend is forecast to rise 6.2% this year and a further 5.6% in 2017, by when the region will account for adspend of $167bn.
Europe is expected to record steady growth of 3.3% to $150bn in 2016 as the industry benefits from the forthcoming UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament in France. Growth is then expected to slow marginally to 2.9% in 2017.
The Middle East and Africa is likely to be adversely affected by the global fall in oil prices, but this should not hamper adspend growth across Central and South America, where it is forecast to rise 5.5% to $39bn in 2016 before slowing to 4.9% in 2017.
Warc research analyst James McDonald said: "Despite an air of economic uncertainty, consumer spending will rise globally both this year and next, and with it the level of advertising investment aimed at influencing the flow.
"Further, the allocation of marketing budgets is seen to be mirroring consumer trends, particularly the rise in internet access via mobile devices and the increasing use of mobile video, social and search platforms.
"While this digital trend evolves, TV spot, an industry staple, will see record levels of investment this year as brands vie to secure ad space during major events such as the Summer Olympics and Euro 2016 football tournament."
A free sample of the report can be downloaded here.
Data sourced from Warc