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US adspend forecast downgraded

News, 24 July 2015

NEW YORK: Advertising expenditure levels are predicted to rise by 1.4% in the US this year, although that figure marks a downgrade of three percentage points on prior expectations, according to new data from Warc.

Warc's latest International Ad Forecast suggests that adspend in the country should reach $166bn in 2015 at current prices, equating to a 41.9% share of the report's 12 market total. These markets represent some 75% of all adspend tracked by Warc.

The study cited the comparatively weak TV upfronts as one reason behind the downgrade in the US outlook when measured against the previous forecast, which was published in December 2014.

More specifically, advertising returns for television are now anticipated to log a 3.3% decline year on year in 2015, standing at $63.5bn overall.

This follows a record year for TV in 2014, as the Sochi Winter Olympics and mid-term elections helped fuel ad sales.

But according to Magna Global, a unit of Interpublic Group, discounting such "cyclical" events means that underlying TV adspend actually fell in 2014, the first dip since 2009, when the financial crisis was in full swing.

Another factor in the softening outlook for the US market, per Warc's analysis, is a "worse than previously expected print decline", as newspapers and magazines are now due to post a joint decrease of 12.1% in 2015.

The internet, by contrast, is pegged to witness an uptick of 15.7% on an annual basis, as brands continue doubling down on their digital activity.

Such a strong performance will mean this channel further closes the revenue gap on TV - having already overtaken television in countries like Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany and the UK.

TV will retain its lead position in the US next year, with growth of 4.1% taking it to a value of $66.1bn, buoyed by the presidential election and Olympic Games.

On its part, the internet will enjoy a 14.2% expansion to $65.3bn, more than trebling the forecast improvement of 4.1% for the US ad market as a whole.

Warc's International Ad Forecast is published twice a year and provides in-depth figures for 12 major nations. A free sample can be downloaded here.

Data sourced from Warc