LONDON: Marketing activity in January increased across all three regions covered by the latest Global Marketing Index (GMI), but Europe stood out for growth in marketing budgets and staffing levels.

While the headline GMI for January declined slightly by 0.2 points to 54.8 since December, the figure remained in positive territory when set against a benchmark of 50.0 that indicates no change.

Europe started the year strongly with an overall index score of 58.0 in January while the index value for the region's marketing budget registered 57.3 and its staffing index – a reflection of the number of staff taken on compared to the same period last year – came in at 57.8.

And in a further sign of the positive outlook in Europe, the region emerged as the only one where resources devoted to TV increased during January, rising to a value of 56.2.

By contrast, the index for marketing spend on TV in Asia-Pacific and the Americas stood at 46.8 and 42.7 respectively, in a sign of reducing spend on the medium.

However, strong growth in digital and mobile advertising helped both these regions to register positive overall valuations. The headline GMI for Asia-Pacific was 53.2 while the Americas scored 52.9.

Asia-Pacific's marketing budget index value was 50.7 in January, taking the region close to the 50.0 benchmark level, but marketing budgets continued to decrease in the Americas to register a value of 48.8.

Despite these falls, the outlook for staffing levels in both regions was more positive with the staffing level index reaching 54.0 in Asia-Pacific and 53.9 in the Americas.

All regions witnessed very strong growth for digital and mobile, which recorded global values of 74.4 and 71.5 respectively, but budgets for traditional media continued to fall – OOH (46.9), radio (43.0) and press (34.2) were all below the neutral 50.0 level.

"The headline Global Marketing Index reading for January indicates that marketing budgets are growing strongly in Europe, weakly in the Asia-Pacific region and are continuing to decline in the Americas," said Ed Jones, chief executive at World Economics.

"The allocation of budgets to traditional media continues to come under pressure from the growth of spending on mobile and digital media," he added.

Data sourced from World Economics; additional content by Warc staff