The WARC Global Marketing Index (GMI) provides a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry, by tracking current conditions among respondents. As we head into 2020 we can look back to see how this year has affected marketers.

Headline GMI: decline since July, but with glimmers of hope in Europe

The Headline GMI is an indicator of overall health across trading conditions, marketing budgets and staffing levels.

Between November 2018 and July 2019, the overall Global Marketing Index (GMI) growth rate was slow, ranging from 52.3 in November to 50.2 in June. However, in July it fell into decline (48.5) reaching its fastest rate of decline in September at 47.1. Since then, the rate of decline has decreased, reaching 49.1 in November 2019.

Looking regionally, we can see that the headline index in APAC largely tracks the global index (aside from a small dip of 49.6 in December 2018); since July, however, conditions in the region have been in increasing decline, with the index value dropping from 49.8 to 46.5 in November.

The index in the Americas fell into decline twice over the year, the first from January 2019 (49.9) to April (49.4) and the second from July (49.7) to November (45.9). This means that as of November 2019, the Americas has the lowest average headline index at 49.1.

In contrast, although Europe also fell into decline in July (48.8) it returned to growth in October at 51.0, and continued to grow at a faster rate in November at 53.7, making it the only region in growth.

Marketing budgets: growth reversing globally

For the first half of 2019, the Index for Global Marketing Budgets was generally in slow growth. Since June, this has reversed, with consistent decline reaching levels not seen since 2013 (43.5 in September). Although the rate of decrease slowed through October (44.7) and November (45.9), the consistent decline through H2 illustrates a period of pressure on marketing budgets globally.

Taking a closer look into the data, Europe is the only region to return to growth in November (50.7), but this came after a long period of decline from May (49.4) to October (47.2). APAC went through a similar period of accelerating decline from July (49.0) to November (43.9). The Americas has consistently been in decline aside from May (51.9) and consequently has the lowest rate of marketing budget activity in November (42.7) a notable decrease from 44.7 in October.

Marketing budgets by medium: digital consistent v. traditional decline

It will come as no surprise that mobile and digital have shown the fastest rates of growth of all media, with both having a consistently high rate of growth all year. Out of mobile and digital, the former has seen the highest overall rate of growth with an average index value of 64.1 compared to digital’s 63.2.

All other tracked media have remained in decline since July, apart from a few notable regional exceptions to the overall trend such as OOH and TV being in growth in Europe, the latter for the first time since March.

Trading conditions: different shades of decline

Globally, from November 2018 to June 2019, trading conditions saw a decreased rate of growth, declining from 53.5 to 50.6. This trend meant that since July the index has been in decline (48.8), dipping to 45.2 in September but decreasing its rate of decline to 48.8 in November.

Regionally, APAC has seen the most notable decline from 49.0 in August to 41.3 in November; the lowest index value across the regions. Over the year, the Americas has generally remained in decline for trading conditions aside from November 2018 (53.1), May (51.5) and June (50.2), however since reaching its fastest rate of decline in September (43.2) decline has since slowed to 46.4 in November. Europe is the only region that not only came back to growth in October (50.3) but has increased its rate of growth to 54.0 in November.

Staffing levels remain consistent

The Staffing Index reflects the number of staff taken on compared with the same period in the previous year. This year, global staffing levels have remained in consistent growth ranging from the slowest rate in July (50.7) to the highest in October (53.8). Across regions, APAC has seen the slowest staffing growth Since August, APAC’s staffing levels have returned to growth (51.1) and peaked in October (55.9). Both Europe and the Americas also saw positive levels of growth, although the latter fell into decline in both September (48.7) and November (48.5).


The GMI is measured by taking the percentage of survey respondents that report activity has risen (“Increasing") and adding it to one half of the percentage that report the activity has not changed (“Unchanged"). This means in terms of activity, 50 points means “no change”, above 50 points shows a positive index and below 50 points shows a negative index. Consequently, an index value of 58 indicates a faster rate of increase than an index value of 53, and an index value of 40 indicates a faster rate of decrease than an index value of 45.

November’s GMI report can be downloaded here.

If you’d like to become part of the GMI panel and receive your free monthly copy of the report then please register here. If you’d like to find out more, please contact Amy Rodgers, Managing Editor, Research and Rankings.

Sourced from WARC