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24 May 2021
Alcohol adspend to beat market, digital channels see gains
Alcoholic drinks industry (general)Advertising expenditure & forecasts
Alcohol ad investment across 12 key markets that account for almost three-quarters of total alcohol global adspend, is set to grow by 5.3% this year, outperforming the 4.9% growth in the ad market as a whole, according to Zenith.
The agency’s Business Intelligence – Alcohol: Beer + Spirits report finds, however, that ads for alcohol fell far more sharply than the advertising market overall in 2020, plunging by 11.6% compared to a decline of 6.4% for the whole market. While lockdowns across markets ease and bars, pubs and restaurants reopen, Zenith does not believe adspend will surpass pre-pandemic levels until 2023, when it will reach £6 billion.
Alcohol brands spent around half of their budgets on TV campaigns in 2020, more than double the average for non-alcohol brands.
Online ad spending is set to grow rapidly, says Zenith. Spending on digital by alcohol brand consumed 21% of marketing budgets in 2019, and this was up slightly in 2020 to 24%. But by 2023 Zenith forecasts digital ads will account for 30% of these ad budgets.
Between 2020 and 2023, Zenith expects adspend growth to be most dramatic in Spain (+28%) and the UK (+21%), the two markets that saw the biggest fall in alcohol ad spending in 2020 – down 52% in Spain and 48% in the UK.
Alcohol brands rapidly cut marketing budgets in 2020 to protect their bottom line as consumers generally drank less, and what they did drink they tended to buy from shops where prices were lowest. Combined adspend went from £5.9 billion in 2019 to £5.2 billion last year.
“The alcohol industry has suffered more from the pandemic than most, and that was reflected in the steep drop in adspend last year. The recovery won’t be as dramatic as the downturn, but investment in digital communication will drive steady growth in alcohol advertising for the next few years” – Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting, Zenith.