Marketing budgets are set to continue to grow according to the latest IPA Bellwether Report, with the fourth quarter of 2013 seeing 11 per cent of companies registering an increase in budget spend, predicted to be up by 3.3 per cent for 2014.
According to the report, which draws its data from a panel of around 300 UK marketing professionals, marketing spend was increased for the fifth consecutive quarter, which has marked the highest rate if growth since the survey began in 2000.
The results indicate that business confidence is increasing in the UK, with almost half (47 per cent) of firms stating that they had become more optimistic financially, while just over a quarter of companies (25.8 per cent) said that they expected to see growth during 2014.
While there was no change to spend for above-the-line activity from the previous quarter, online budgets have continued to record the greatest improvement of 9.2 per cent, while search spend increased by 3.8 per cent, the lowest recorded rate since the first quarter of last year. Growth was forecast for sales promotion by 1.9 per cent, events by 1.8 per cent and direct marketing by 1.2 per cent, while declines were predicted for PR of 2.8 per cent, market research by 2.5 per cent and other paid for marketing activity by 2.3 per cent.
Paul Bainsfair, director general of the IPA, said that the positive results would send an "upbeat message" to the advertising industry and the UK economy. "With the current run of growth in marketing budgets now extending to five quarters, it seems companies are spending again to drive business growth. Confidence remains high as the economic situation continues to improve, this is encouraging to hear and welcome news," he added.
The growth of advertising spend is expected to remain unchanged going into 2015, however 2016 is also forecast to grow by 3.3 per cent before budgets continue to grow by four per cent for each of the following three years as the economy strengthens.