Hard on the heels of its upbeat five-year adspend forecast for the Americas as a whole [WAMN: 05-Sep-02], London-headquartered media network Zenith Optimedia dons sackcloth and ashes for the globe’s seven largest advertising economies – the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain.

Overall, Zenith predicts a 1.4% decline in adspend for 2002, following last year’s 5.2% plunge. The sun will peep over the horizon in 2003 with the seven economies moving into an aggregated growth of 1.5%, and 2004 will see growth of 3.6%. But don’t break out the bubbly – total annual spend will equate to $232 billion (€236.23bn; £148.61bn), four billion dollars below 2000’s orgiastic level.

The USA will fare best among the seven nations in 2002, having borne the brunt of the decline in 2001. Spending stateside is predicted to fall 0.1% this year, whereas Germany (Europe’s largest ad market) is expected to plummet 5.3% and Japan (the world’s second largest ad economy) by 3.9%. Elsewhere the deficits will be less severe: 1.2% in the UK, 1.5% in France, 2.8% in Italy and 2.9% in Spain.

None of which should be taken too seriously, according to one industry observer – given the improbability that Zenith is party to the intentions of President George W Bush, Osama bin Laden or the relative handful of highrollers who control the world's stock markets.

And for light (not to say lightweight) relief, Lauren Rich Fine, high profile advertising analyst at Merrill Lynch, has again updated her prognostications for world ad spending this year. Fine divines that the global ad industry will decline by 1.2% from 2001, then rebound to the tune of 3% in 2003.

Fine enjoys the luxury of changing her mind as reality catches up on divination, having in June predicted a 1.3% decline for 2002 and growth of 4% for 2003.

However, the oracle is sticking to crystal ball version 1.0.0 for US advertising prospects this year, which will remain at her previously predicted 0.7% growth.

Data sourced from: Financial Times and New York Times; additional content by WARC staff