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UK adspend grows strongly

News, 26 April 2016

LONDON: In 2015, UK advertising expenditure grew 7.5% – its highest rate for five years – to reach a total of £20.1bn, according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report.

And, subsequent to last week's Advertising Association report showing how advertising helps fuel the UK economy, the data indicate that as a share of GDP, UK adspend rose to 1.08% in 2015, higher than any other G7 nation. For every man, woman and child in the UK, £308.56 was spent on advertising last year.

"The UK is the fastest-growing major advertising market in Europe, and its most successful exporter," said Tim Lefroy, Chief Executive at the Advertising Association. "It's a tribute to our creativity and technical innovation."

The Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report is the definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK, being the only source that uses advertising expenditure gathered from across the entire media landscape, rather than relying solely on estimated or modelled data.

At £8.6bn, internet advertising accounted for almost 43% of the total; with an annual growth rate of 17.3% it continued to increase faster than almost every other medium. And within that, mobile was the main driver – up 61.1% to £2.6bn and making up some 78% of all growth in internet advertising.

Otherwise, the fastest-growing medium was cinema, which saw adspend climb 20.8% to reach a new high of £238m, driven by high-grossing films including the latest offerings in the Star Wars and James Bond franchises.

TV adspend rose 7.3% to a record £5.3bn, with spot expenditure, which makes up 90% of this figure, increasing 6.7%. Spending on broadcaster VOD remains small by comparison at £175m, but is growing fast (+20.7%).

Annual growth in 2015 adspend was also recorded for direct mail (+1.4% year-on-year to £1.9bn), out of home (+3.9% to £1.1bn) and radio (+2.9% to £592m).

Print spending at newspapers and magazines continued to fall, by 13.4% to £1bn at national newsbrands, 9.5% at regional newsbrands and 9.3% at magazines.

All three registered growth in digital ad spending but, as in previous years this advance has not been enough to offset the decline in print advertising.

The overall strong growth in total UK adspend is expected to continue with a rise of 5.5% forecast in both 2016 and 2017.

Warc research analyst James McDonald said of the figures "2015 was a stellar year for the UK advertising industry, with almost all channels recording rising investment. Of the top ten ad markets by dollar spend worldwide, the UK's growth rate was the second-fastest last year.

"Digital formats such as native and social, which were relatively nascent in 2014, really began to bloom in 2015. Simultaneously, industry staples such as TV and cinema benefited from major sporting events and blockbuster releases, respectively.

"We expect ad expenditure to grow by a healthy 5.5% this year and next, buoyed by increasing investment in mobile and TV formats in particular."

Data sourced from Advertising Association, Warc