BRUSSELS: Business confidence in the European advertising and marketing sector grew slightly in the third quarter of the year, following a sharp drop in the first half of the year.

According to the latest European Advertising Business Climate Index, issued by the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), confidence increased from +2 in July 2017 to +3 in October 2017. The first six month of the year, however, saw a half fall of 16 points.

While confidence levels were generally improving, the index was positive in only one of the four countries holding the largest shares of the advertising market in Europe: in Germany it rose from +23 to +29.

In the other three the index remained negative: confidence levels in the UK rose from -29 in Q2/2017 to -18 in Q3/2017, in Italy from -21 to -5, while France stayed the same at -5.

And despite the more positive reading for the UK, this was the lowest confidence reading of all the EU member states; Germany, on the other hand, reported the highest level in Europe in October 2017.

Lower confidence levels do not appear to have had an effect on advertising expenditure, however, as latest data from the Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report shows UK advertising expenditure grew 3.7% to £10.8bn during the first six months of 2017.

And the EACA index showed that demand and selling prices over the next three months are expected to increase noticeably (+10 to +16 and 0 to +9, respectively).

But other indicators are less promising: business development (-3) and the evolution of demand for advertising services (-4) over the past three months have further decreased from previous negative readings (-2 and -1, respectively).

Two countries have significantly improved their overall business confidence over the last quarter: the index for Italy leapt from -21 to -5 and for and Cyprus from -22 to +13.

The biggest drops in confidence were seen in Spain (from +22 to -6) and Sweden (from +33 to +18).

Sourced from EACA; additional content by WARC staff