UK ad spend reaches pre-recession levels

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on May 17, 2013

UK ad spend reaches pre-recession levels

Advertising expenditure in the UK reached £17 billion in 2012, up 2.3% on 2011 according to figures from the latest AA/Warc Expenditure Report, and representing the first time advertising spend exceeded £17 billion since 2007 - before the recession began.

The report's forecasts for the next eight quarters show ad spend continuing to grow, reaching a 5% growth rate in 2014, well ahead of inflation. Growth of 2.7% is expected in 2013.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • Out of home advertising enjoyed a strong performance in 2012 as a direct result of an Olympic boost in Q3, but AA/Warc forecasts a decrease in 2013;  
  • National news brands saw a decline of -6% in 2012, with zero growth predicted for 2013 but +2.7% growth in 2014, driven partly by a strengthening economy plus a strong increase in digital ad spend at +20.3%;  
  • It is the same scenario for magazine brands in 2014, where digital revenues will power overall growth of +1.1%.

Analysis of annual ad spend data over the past 30 years shows that there is a link between annual changes in GDP and annual changes in ad spend (after allowing for inflation, and excluding recruitment ad spend). Over this period, GDP changes account for about two thirds of the change in ad spend. According to Tim Lefroy, chief executive for the Advertising Association, "These figures are good news for our industries but there is a bigger picture. Advertising does not just track GDP - it drives it. The return to pre-recession levels of spending will have an impact not just on ad-land but the economy at large."

The Advertising Association/Warc quarterly Expenditure Report provides a guide to advertising expenditure in the UK, and is impartial and independent of any media channel or agency. The survey was launched in 1981 and has since produced data on a quarterly basis.

For additional information: ·  Visit Warc at ·  Visit Advertising Association at