BERLIN: Advertising expenditure rose by just 1% in Germany during the third quarter of this year, as brands in different categories adopted divergent strategies in a challenging trading climate.

Nielsen, the research firm, reported that adspend levels increased by a modest 1% across the first three quarters of 2012, reaching a value of €18.2bn.

The third quarter actually yielded a decline in total returns, as July witnessed a 2.2% decrease, measured against a 0.1% dip in August and a 0.7% contraction in September.

By medium, internet advertising sales climbed by 18.2% during the opening nine months of the year on an annual basis, an expansion reaching 5.2% for radio and 2.6% for television.

Less positively, print logged a 5.1% fall, including a 5.8% slide for newspapers and a 4.6% contraction for magazines. Outdoor also experienced a 2.6% drop, and cinema registered an 8.2% decline.

At the category level, automakers recorded the highest outlay over the first three quarters, up 10.6% to €1.2bn. Volkswagen, Audi and BMW boosted their budgets by around €170m altogether.

Elsewhere, the ecommerce sector delivered an improvement of 21% to over €500m, driven by pure-play operators like eBay and the digital arms of bricks and mortar chains like Media Markt.

Retailers, however, trimmed budgets by 16.4%, although their expenditure still came in at €1.15bn, with all the top five chains – including Lidl and Penny Market – enhancing their outlay by €100m or more.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff