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Mike Fletcher 

Ad spend recovers across five combined anglo markets

Ad spend recovers across five combined anglo markets

Combined advertising spend across the US, UK, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian markets has lifted +4% above the total recorded in Q1 2020 and +1% above the pre-Covid Q1 2019 period, according to Standard Media Index (SMI) data.

SMI’s Q1 2021 Anglo Market Report shows that these five global advertising markets have already begun to recover from 2020’s record declines in ad spend, following a strong rebound in the advertising spend data collected from SMI’s multinational and independent media agency partners.

The Q1 results were boosted by a very strong March across all markets (+18% in total) after small declines in January and February.

In March, strong rebounds in the US and Canada (+22% and +20% respectively) underpinned the global gains, with New Zealand reporting the next highest level of percentage growth (+9%) followed by Australia (+2%) and the UK (+0.4%).

According to SMI CEO, James Fennessy, if the trends continue across the year, the final result for 2021 could be a +7% increase in total advertising expenditure.

He said: “Given the level of economic disruption from the pandemic it’s phenomenal to see such a positive increase in advertising expenditure back to pre-Covid levels, even before the global pandemic has been arrested. It clearly highlights the resilience of the advertising industry in these key markets and points to a healthy future for all ad-supported media.”

From a media perspective, there was strong commonality with digital emerging as the main growth driver in all five markets.

“The highest growth we’ve seen this quarter is for digital media, with total bookings up +22% on the 2020 numbers as all the key digital sectors delivered large double digit percentage growth - with the highest gains seen in the Programmatic, Social Media and Video Sites sectors,’’ Fennessy continued.

“When compared to the first quarter of 2019, digital spend has grown at an even stronger +25%. Indeed, first quarter ad spend across all digital sectors have exceeded the 2019 and 2020 totals in every country.”

As a result, digital media’s share of the total advertising pie in these combined markets has grown to 48% of all ad spend, which sees it overtake television’s share of total spend (at 44%) in Q1 2021, and leaving just 8% of ad spend for all other media types.

While most markets reported much stronger growth in TV ad spend during March, softer January and February results meant combined country ad spend was down -4% on the Q1 2020 level and down -10% on Q1 2021.

SMI’s data further shows that the impact of Covid on the world’s largest OOH media markets was universal, with a collective decline for Q1 still at -43%.

"It’s clear that in all five country markets, digital and then TV are the media driving the advertising recovery and it’s going to take some time for media more affected by the pandemic – such as outdoor – to recover,’’ Fennessy concluded.

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