Advertising spending in the UK is expected to be £20.8bn next year, breaking through the £20 billion mark for the first time.

The figure comes from the latest media and marketing forecasts from GroupM, the media investment group, and compares with a spend of £19.9bn in 2018.

It forecasts a 6.0% rise in ad spending for 2018, down from a 6.4% rise over the previous year in 2017. The 2019 growth forecast of 4.8% has also been adjusted downwards from a forecast earlier in the year of 5.1% growth.

The UK remains a “significant contributor to global advertising growth”, according to GroupM. And its advertising market looks set to remain stable because of the high levels of growth in digital advertising, which now makes up 60% of advertising spending.

The report says the medium continues to “grow organically”, mainly because of increased SME investment. There are signs, however, that larger advertisers are becoming more cautious about upping their spending.

Pure-play internet was up 11% in 2018, and is expected to grow by a further 9% next year. GroupM sees a slowdown as inevitable, but digital will still likely account for all new net advertising growth.

TV advertising, meanwhile, is expected to remain flat in 2018, and to show only 1% growth in 2019.

Print spending continues to shrink, with both national and regional newspapers and magazines together losing ground. In 2017, newsbrands made up 12.5% of all ad investment; in 2018 that had fallen to 11.1%. The estimate for 2019 is that this share will drop to 9.8%.

Radio is maintaining audiences, however, and enjoying rising demand from advertisers. GroupM forecasts radio spot advertising revenue will be up 10% in 2018, and 7% next year. Radio owners will book around £500m in spot revenue in 2018, it says.

“Future Brexit fall-out remains a complete unknown, but for now the economy is doing OK,” said Adam Smith, Futures Director, GroupM.

“Ad revenue forecasts remain perhaps surprisingly positive, supported by digital commanding a rising share of overall marketing effort from a wider base of marketers large and small. The UK’s fluid media market favours optimism too. Advertisers know they can change spending plans almost at will, with low or no friction.”

Sourced from GroupM; additional content by WARC staff