BERLIN: Spending levels across five of Germany's biggest advertiser categories fell by 3.7%, to €2.26 billion ($3.1bn; £2.9bn), during the first four months of this year compared with the preceding period at the end of 2008, Thomson Media Control reports.

The measurement company tracked the marketing outlay of the food, transport/automotive, personal care, telecoms/online and tourism/catering sectors over TV, radio, online, press and out-of-home.

It found that the five biggest advertisers in these categories increased their expenditure by an average of 6% at the start of 2009 compared with the period from September to December 2008.

Ferrero, Danone, Unilever, Storck and Dr. Oetker – the firms with the largest total spend among food advertisers – boosted their collective outlay by €256m, contributing to an upturn of 4.3% in growth for the sector as a whole at the start of this year.

By contrast, automotive marketers reduced their total expenditure by 8.7%, or €450m, with personal care also brands cutting back by some 2.5% overall.

The tourism/catering segment, however, posted an improvement of 7.1%, or €377m, while telecoms spending declined by 16.9% on a comparative basis.

Based on Thomson Media Control's estimates, the biggest advertisers in Germany in the first four months of 2009 included L'Oréal, on €46.3m, McDonald's, on €43.3m and T-Home, on €42m.

Data sourced from Thomson Media Control; additional content by WARC staff