Global ad spend to slow, but digital will capture 50% of budgets by 2020 says GroupM

GroupM report finds digital ad spend will plateau

GroupM's latest global media forecast has predicted a slow in overall global ad spend for 2019, but notes that digital investment will remain buoyant – capturing 50% of budgets by 2020.

The media giant's 'This Year, Next Year' prediction report has outlined how global ad growth is still going strong for the sector as a whole, despite being built on "fragile economic foundations". However, it has downgraded its global ad growth forecast from 3.6% to 3.4% for 2019.

Unsurprisingly, the report forecast that digital ad spend will continue to demand the bulk of budgets, predicting its percentage share will double reach 50% in 2020 (up from 25% in 2014).

Although digital appears unstoppable, GroupM predicted that spend will eventually plateau. As a result, it noted that growth would ultimately decelerate with each passing year to converge with global averages.

The report also predicted the growth of the advertising industry across more than 60 territories through the end of 2019 and into 2020, with the US, China, Brazil, India and India collectively accounting for well over half of growth in 2019 and 2020.

While 3.4% global growth is expected for 2019, that turned in to 4.7% on an underlying basis for 2020; excluding political advertising in the US. When political spend was included, the same projection rose to 6%.

'This Year, Next Year' report also detailed how despite political and economic uncertainties, 2018 was a strong year for the UK, which clocked in as the world's fourth-largest advertising economy.

Total spend from British companies was up 7.8%, which looks set to continue in 2019, with a 6.1% forecast for the year. GroupM said the growth would be aided by decent underlying economic growth, with 2020 experiencing a 4.6% rise.

In APAC, China and India continue to dominate. China, which represents one-sixth of global advertising, can 5.6% growth in 2020 said GroupM.

India, meanwhile, is expected to post double-digit growth in 2019 with 14% growth and 13% in 2020, making it set to surpass Australia and Canada by next year as the world’s eighth-largest ad market.

Discussing the report, Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence, GroupM said: “While the economic foundations supporting the advertising industry are somewhat fragile at this time, growth trends are holding up for now.”

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