MILAN: Italian advertising expenditure dropped faster than expected during 2012, new statistics show.

The latest figures from Nielsen, the measurement company, reveal a 14.3% decline to €7.44bn.

The only sector to buck the downward trend was internet advertising which registered a 5.3% uplift for the year to €665m.

In November 2012, Warc's International Ad Forecast revised downwards its predictions of Italian adspend for the year. It expected the market to shrink even faster, at -8.5% rather than the mid-year forecast of -3.5%, and, at the same time, downgraded growth for 2013 to 1.7%.

On the basis of the latest Nielsen figures, reported in Bloomberg, Italian adspend may struggle to show any growth at all in 2013.

An already difficult economic environment has not been helped by the recent news that Italian consumer confidence had unexpectedly declined to the lowest level in 17 years.

At the end of January Istat, the Italian statistics office, reported the confidence index had fallen to 84.6, the lowest figure recorded since the series started in 1996. Economic commentators had been anticipating a rise to 86.

And earlier in January, the Bank of Italy said it expected household spending to decline 1.9% during 2013.

Television remains the single largest advertising medium, accounting for 52.6% of total expenditure in Nielsen's 2012 figures, but it saw a 15.3% drop over the year to €3.9bn.

In other categories, press advertising fell 17.9% to €1.8bn, radio was down 10.2% to €389m, outdoor advertising declined 12.5% to €102m and cinema plunged 18.7% to €38m.

Data sourced from Nielsen/Warc/Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff