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UK adspend to weather Brexit storm

News, 02 August 2016

LONDON: UK advertising expenditure is set to post only slightly lower growth in 2016 and 2017 than previously forecast, as the impact of the Brexit vote will not slow the ongoing trends in internet and mobile spending, according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report data.

Total adspend is now projected to hit £20.9bn in 2016; this represents a 4.2% increase on the previous year and a downwards revision of 1.3 percentage points since April, while there will be a 3.8% rise in 2017, or 1.7 percentage points less than previously anticipated.

The new figures have been largely driven by downgrades for newsbrands (-4.2pp for national and -4.3pp for regional titles) and direct mail (-8.1pp), the UK's third and fourth largest media channels.

But while economic uncertainty surrounding the UK's vote to leave the EU is a factor, internet adspend forecasts have been revised up 0.8pp to 12.3% growth in 2016 and a total spend of £9.6bn, while mobile advertising gains a further 2.5pp, for a 39.3% increase to £3.7bn in the same period.

Out of home adspend is predicted to rise 4.0% in 2016 and 2.1% in 2017, driven by digital spend forecasts of +17.0% and +15.8% respectively. Digital is expected to claim a 40% share of total out of home spend in 2017, up from 31% in 2015.

And television, following the highest first quarter total on record, is projected to continue to grow steadily, at 3.6% this year and 3.1% next, downwards revisions of 1.5pp and 2.0pp respectively.

"These numbers suggest that, despite uncertainty, our sector is resilient," said Tim Lefroy, chief executive at the Advertising Association.

"Government can underpin that by taking every step possible to build advertiser confidence, promote the UK as a global advertising hub and ensure we remain open to the world's best advertising talent," he added.

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

The forecasts follow a strong showing for the UK ad market in Q1 2016, with advertising expenditure rising 4.3% to reach £5,007m – the first time spend has passed £5bn in a first quarter.

Data sourced from Warc, Advertising Association