The upgraded projection for the year coincides with actual data released for Q3 2021, showing adspend of £7.3bn – three percentage points and £183m ahead of forecast, making it the largest-ever summer spend on record.
All media recorded double-digit growth in Q3 following the previous year’s decline, as the summer period saw the return of key sporting moments such as the Euros, Olympics and Paralympics along with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
2022 looks good
Q1 2022 looks to be stronger than expected (particularly within TV) and overall adspend is now forecast to grow 12.6% year-on-year, compared with the previous forecast of 10.5%. Over the whole year, investment is set to rise by 8.5% to £32.2bn – meaning the UK market will have expanded by more than a third since 2020.
Strong recoveries are forecast for cinema (+201.1%) and out-of-home (+26.8%) this year. Continued growth is also expected from the largest advertising channels, including search (+11.1%), online display (+8.3%) and TV (+5.3%) as consumer habits gained during the pandemic are expected to be retained.
“While inflation is set to act as a headwind on both the consumer and media buyers alike in the coming months, we have little reason to believe that the UK’s ad market won’t achieve growth of 8.5% this year – well ahead of the average recorded during the decade preceding the [coronavirus] outbreak” – James McDonald, director of data, intelligence & forecasting, WARC.
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