LONDON: The latest advertising forecasts for the UK in 2016, from ZenithOptimedia, have been revised upwards to reflect the fastest anticipated growth in almost twenty years.

The media agency is now predicting advertising expenditure will increase 9.7% next year, up from the 9.3% it had estimated only a few months ago in September, Campaign reported.

It is also substantially higher than the recent Consensus Ad Forecast from Warc, which suggested that advertising expenditure would increase by a more modest 6.1% in 2016.

"It is pretty stellar – the fastest growth rate of any mature market," said Jonathan Barnard, the head of forecasting at Zenith.

"I attribute it to the healthy UK economy, marketers' embrace of digital communication – advertisers spend more of their budgets on internet advertising than anywhere else in the world – and strong demand for TV, which remains cheap on historical and international terms," he added.

The latter factor is also expected to help push TV advertising to record levels this Christmas. Zenith projects spending via this medium will be up 8% on last year to reach £310m, or 7.9% of the annual total.

In addition to the trends towards internet and mobile advertising – Warc's Global Adspend Database highlights the UK's leading position, recording the highest spend on mobile advertising in Europe and the third highest spend globally after the US and China – next year will be further boosted by the UEFA European Football Championships in France and the summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

Zenith did sound a note of caution about the "less predictable" second half of 2016. "Spending will be very sensitive to the state of the UK economy," it said.

Data sourced from Campaign, Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff