SYDNEY: Most advertising categories experienced expenditure growth in Australia last year, new figures from The Nielsen Company have shown.

According to the research firm's new Top Media Advertisers report, real estate was the fastest-growing category in 2010, up 19.3% year on year to A$637m ($672m, €466m).

Across all categories, expenditure rose by almost 10% last year. TV continues to be the dominant channel, accounting for around 40% of the total.

Category by category, motor vehicles, finance, communications and insurance also registered double-digit percentage increases in adspend.

Retail, up 6.6%, was the largest advertising category by far, with 2010's A$2.18bn total twice as large as that for the second-largest category - motor vehicles.

Media brands were the only category to experience an annual decline last year, with adspend falling 1.1% from 2009's total.

In contrast to other advanced economies, Australia was able to avoid recession during the global financial crisis and economic downturn of 2008-09.

But The Nielsen Company pointed out that local advertisers still made "cutbacks" in their media spend during 2009 - explaining 2010's impressive growth rates.

With this in mind, year-on-year adspend increases are expected to moderate in 2011.

"Media reports indicate patchy results across some media, possibly due to the recent devastating floods and cyclone damage [in Australia], consumer caution over escalating food and energy costs, and concerns over the impact of the Government's proposed carbon trading levy," The Nielsen Company added.

According to Warc's latest International Ad Forecast, Australian adspend increased by 8.9% in 2010 in local prices. Growth is also expected to reach 5.8% in 2011.

Data sourced from The Nielsen Company/Warc; additional content by Warc staff