NEW YORK: Traditional and digital advertising expenditure levels enjoyed healthy growth last year, reports from Nielsen and GroupM have shown.

According to Nielsen, the insights provider, worldwide adspend rose by 7.3% to $498bn in 2011, primarily based on published rate cards estimates.

The company stated that the market expanded by 6.2% during the final quarter of the year, when ad sales through TV, newspapers, magazines and radio came in at $131bn.

Latin America posted an 11.6% leap, an acceleration hitting 11.5% for Asia Pacific and 11.3% for the Middle East and Africa. North America saw a 1.8% increase, but Europe was down 0.4%.

More specifically, television revenues improved by 10.1% in 2011, with radio growing by 9.7%, magazines witnessing a 2% jump and newspapers up by 1.1%.

By category, the clothing and accessories sector boosted its outlay by 17.5% on an annual basis, a figure reaching 11.2% for healthcare and 8.1% for the industrial and services segment.

Automotive logged 7.5% growth, with financial services and FMCG brands both up by over 6%, and durables and entertainment firms recording a 5% increase in budgets.

In a separate study, GroupM, the media arm of WPP Group, suggested internet advertising stood at $84.8bn in 2011, a 16% surge year on year, and representing 17% of total adspend.

North America generated expenditure of $34.5bn – including $32.2bn attributable to the US – topping Asia Pacific on $24.8bn and Western Europe on $21bn.

Looking ahead, GroupM predicted new media ad revenues for 2012 should come in at $98.2bn globally, some 18.8% of the advertising market, measured against just 4.4% in 2004.

"At the risk of an 'Oh really?' response, it's possible to argue that for the first time ... that the last year has been one of evolution rather than revolution," Rob Norman, Global CEO of GroupM Interaction, said. "It seems that less is brand new."

GroupM also revealed that consumers now spend 19% of their media usage time on digital channels, while ecommerce accounts for almost 5% of retail sales.

Data sourced from Nielsen/GroupM; additional content by Warc staff