Report: Ad spending in China halts due to COVID-19 outbreak

Amid the growing concern over the novel coronavirus pandemic, eMarketer has released a new report cutting the forecast for total ad spending in China by 6.2 per cent. According to the report, eMarketer had originally predicted total media ad spending to grow 10.5 per cent in China in 2020, for a total of $121.13bn. Now, it is expected that China ad spending will only grow 8.4 per cent, totaling $113.67bn, which is the slowest growth since eMarketer began tracking China ad spending in 2011.

Print advertising spend is expected to decrease the most, as newspaper ad spend will lower 16 per cent in 2020 to $2.4bn, as opposed to the previously predicted 8.6 per cent drop. Magazine ad spend will drop 12 per cent to $450m, as compared to the previously predicted drop of 5 per cent.

“As people are forced to stay home during the outbreak, residents of China are buying fewer print newspapers and magazines,” said Brian Lau, eMarketer forecasting analyst. “Delivery services are also being interrupted. This means that the already struggling print ad market will see even lower demand.”

Due to the ongoing quarantine and self-isolation in China, less people will be moving around outside, so OOH ad spending is going to stall. eMarketer predicts OOH ad spend will only grow by 0.7 per cent in 2020, as opposed to the previously estimated 2.5 per cent.

As far as digital spending is concerned, there is an expected growth of 13 per cent, totaling $81.06bn. In Q3 2019, eMarketer has predicted 15.2 per cent growth in digital ad spending in 2020, totaling $86.30bn.

“Overall negativity and more cautious spending from advertisers mean that digital ad spending will not be immune to the coronavirus,” Lau said. “But the impact is less severe than traditional media, mostly because mobile ad spending is still showing strong growth. This is in part because people are shopping online more during the outbreak. They are also turning to online news sources for information about the outbreak. These factors will buoy advertisers’ appetite for digital ads.”