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UK to be first country where over half of ad spend goes to digital, says Group M

By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant



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December 1, 2014 | 2 min read

In 2015, £1 of every £2 spent on advertising in the UK will go to digital and online media, research by Group M has predicted.

This will make the UK the first country where over half of all ad spend goes to digital. Those who are set to follow include Sweden, where 47 per cent of total ad spend will be digital, Denmark (43 per cent), Australia (42 per cent) and Norway (40 per cent).

The research by the global media buying arm of WPP forecast that the total UK ad market will hit £15.7bn in 2015. Within this, a 12.7 per cent year-on-year increase in online will see that sector break the £8bn mark.

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Adam Smith, futures director at Group M put this down to Brits embracing smartphone use: “The British are the most enthusiastic online shoppers in the world in terms of spend per head. And there has always been a high level of credit and debit card use [online]. On top of that Britons have rapidly embraced smartphone and tablet use, all of which has fuelled where advertisers spend their money.”

This is not just for areas such as retail: Smith predicts a growth in digital revenues for newspaper brands.Group M has suggested that national newspaper advertising will decline £80m (8.3 per cent) in 2015.

“We estimate that 10 per cent of newsbrand revenue is digital in 2014. Advertiser demand for online display is rising strongly. Video, social and mobile are the main drivers. Newsbrands must therefore align with these as best they can.”

Display advertising will also be a huge sector, with Group M predicting the sector will grow to £4.2bn, with about 29 per cent of that coming from mobile devices.

Smith concluded that display has been the main source of UK digital ad growth since 2013, and proclaimed that this lead will grow wider in 2015.

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