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China slowdown affects global adspend

News, 31 March 2015

GLOBAL: Global advertising expenditure will grow at a slightly slower rate than expected over the next two years as the Chinese market starts to come off the boil, according to a new forecast.

China is now the world's second-largest ad market, according to media services network ZenithOptimedia, having overtaken Japan during 2014. Advertising expenditure there amounted to US$45.4bn, compared to US$45bn in Japan. Both these, however, are only around one quarter of the US figure of US$176.2bn.

Nonetheless, China "is now so large that relatively small changes in growth visibly affect the global total", said ZenithOptimedia. It predicted that adspend in this country would ease from the 10.5% growth it has averaged for the past five years to 9.1% in 2015.

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That's still more than twice the revised global rate of 4.4%, down 0.5 percentage points from ZenithOptimiedia's last such forecast. An average annual growth rate of 8.5% for China is projected out to 2017.

The other factor in downgrading growth figures is the political and economic uncertainty engulfing Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, where adspend is expected to decline by 16.5%, 62.3% and 33.5% respectively in 2015.

But as these three countries account for just 2.1% of the global total, compared to China's 8.3%, "their sudden decline has slowed but not derailed global adspend growth".

Looking further ahead, ZenithOptimedia anticipates adpsend growth will pick up to 5.3% in 2016, helped by the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the heavy advertising expenditure that surrounds the US presidential election, before easing back to 4.8% in 2017.

The network also highlighted the speed at which online video is growing, up 34% to US$10.9bn in 2014 and forecast it to grow at an average of 29% a year to reach US$23.3bn in 2017.

"Online video combines the emotional connection of television with the efficient targeting and measurable effectiveness of digital display," observed Steve King, ZenithOptimedia's CEO, Worldwide.

"While television will remain dominant for many years to come, advertisers are increasingly utilising online video as an invaluable complement, giving them new opportunities to communicate brand values to consumers," he added.

Warc's Consensus Ad Forecast, a weighted average of adspend forecasts from advertising agencies, media companies and industry bodies, including ZenithOptimedia, forecasts growth of 10.3% in Chinese advertising expenditure in 2015, with digital up 23.7%. Global growth in adspend is penciled at 5.1% this year, rising to 6.0% in 2016.

Data sourced from ZenithOptimedia; additional content by Warc staff