LONDON: UK advertising expenditure picked up by 2.4% in the first quarter of 2013 to reach £4.14bn, as the sector continued to build on its return to pre-recession levels at the end of last year.

The latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report forecast a 2.6% increase for the full year with accelerated growth of 4.9% in 2014.

The Expenditure Report is based on AA/Warc's own quarterly survey of national and regional newsbrands and consumer and business magazine brands, alongside data compiled in conjunction with UK industry trade bodies and organisations, including the Internet Advertising Bureau, the Outdoor Media Centre, the Radio Advertising Bureau and the Royal Mail.

Internet pure play spending, which excludes digital spending in newsbrands and magazine brands, grew particularly strongly, up by an estimated 11.1%, helped by the increase in mobile advertising.

TV performed well, with a 5.6% increase, while cinema and out of home were also in positive territory, although the latter two were not expected to sustain their slight Q1 growth rates, of 1.6% and 0.1% respectively, across the rest of the year.

Newsbrands and magazine brands continued their downward trend with adspend shrinking by 7.9% and 11.6% respectively. Digital spending in these two media was growing but was not enough to offset the decline in print spending, although the gap is expected to lessen in 2013/14.

Print display in national newsbrands, for example, is predicted to amount to £1,148m in 2013, or 76.6% of the total spend, down from 78.4% in 2012. Comparable digital display figures are £159m, representing 10.6% of the total spend in 2013, up from 8.2% in 2012.

Spending on radio and direct mail also contracted during the quarter, by 2.9% and 1.0% respectively. Radio, however, was predicted to achieve a 1.7% increase over the whole year.

"A pound spent on advertising returns six pounds to GDP," said Tim Lefroy, chief executive of the Advertising Association.

"These figures don't just reflect growing confidence, they represent an important investment in the recovery," he added.

Data sourced from AA, Warc