GLOBAL: China is set to take the lion's share of global new advertising dollars for the first time, despite its economic slowdown, while mobile will continue to drive growth around the world, according to a new forecast.

Zenith Optimedia's latest quarterly Advertising Expenditure Forecasts pointed to several milestones which will soon be passed. It indicated that there would be some US$75bn of new ad expenditure between 2015 and 2018 and that China would take the greatest share of this spending, at 25%.

That puts it ahead of the US, which is slated to take 24% of new spending, for the first time.

The other major landmark is that global internet advertising is expected to overtake TV advertising in 2017, a year ahead of previous forecasts.

In terms of actual share, Zenith is suggesting that the internet will take 37.6% of global advertising expenditure by 2018, while TV will be on 34.1%.

Mobile will be the fastest-growing channel: adspend on mobile jumped 72% in 2015 and is set to grow at some 32% a year out to 2018, by when it will account for almost half of all internet spending.

A slowing Chinese economy will have a knock-on effect on the region's advertising industry, signalling an end to the annual double-digit growth rates seen over the past five years.

Zenith Optimedia pointed to the rate of growth in "fast-track Asia" – defined as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam – dropping to 9.2% in 2015 and easing to 8.9% in the coming year and to 8.5% in the following two years. 

That is still almost double the global average of 4.6% predicted for 2016 and well ahead of the rate of increase forecast for "advanced Asia", including Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, Mumbrella reported.

According to Zenith, ad spending in these countries was up 2.8% in 2015, a figure it described as "disappointing" and one which is not about to get any better as it anticipated annual growth of just 2.2% in the subsequent three years.

Japan, meanwhile, is "stuck in a rut of persistent low growth" and will grow at just 1.8% a year between 2015 and 2018.

Zenith's findings chime with the ad expenditure projections published last week in Warc's Global Adspend Outlook 2016/17, a free summary of future investment trends modelled on actual adspend data recorded in 93 markets.

The research predicts that mobile adspend will rise to $90bn next year, underpinned by investment in social and video formats.

Mobile will be the prime driver of headline internet growth over the coming years, Warc believes, as spend on desktop formats is now in decline.

Data sourced from Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff