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UK ad spend to surpass £20bn in 2019, digital responsible for all net growth

Tyrone Stewart

Stock market graphUK ad spend is expected to cross the £20bn mark for the first-time next year, reaching £20.8bn with net growth likely to be entirely down to digital.

According to the latest forecasts from WPP’s GroupM, ad spend in the UK will see six per cent growth for 2018 – down on 6.4 per cent in 2017 – in reaching £19.9bn. Growth for 2019 is expected to sink further to 4.8 per cent, which will still be enough to carry spend comfortably over the £20bn mark.

Digital accounts for around 60 per cent of all advertising investment and, with that, accounts for all UK net advertising growth. Within this, pure-play internet increased 11 per cent in 2018 and is predicted to grow a further nine per cent in 2019.

Elsewhere, GroupM expects television ad spend to remain flat in 2018 and grow just one per cent in 2019, while print media investment will continue to shrink – with newspapers and magazines collectively dropping around 1.5 ad spend share points a year. This year, investment in news brands will account for 11.1 per cent of ad investment but, in 2019, will fall to 9.8 per cent.

On the other hand, radio spot ad revenue will increase 10 per cent this year – with radio owners taking in around £500m in spot revenue – and rise seven per cent in 2019.

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

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