Internet ad spend to exceed 50% of all global expenditure by 2021

Internet advertising is set to cross the 50% milestone as a proportion of global ad spend for the first time this year

Internet advertising is set to cross the 50% milestone as a proportion of global ad spend for the first time this year, despite a slight slowdown in overall adspend growth from 4.7 to 4.6% since March.

Zenith's latest adspend forecast attributes this deterioration to the discrepancy in spend between small businesses and the big brands, with growth in the former driven primarily by platforms such as Facebook and Google while larger brands remain largely wedded to traditional media.

The future doesn’t look quite so rosy for the sector looking further ahead, however, with growth expected to sink to its lowest rate in two decades by 2021, when internet advertising will account for 52% of total adspend – up from just 44% in 2018.

At this point the online ad market is expected to slow to just 9% as the market reaches maturity, well below a breakneck 17% growth rate recorded last year.

Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith commented: “The point at which internet advertising exceeds 50% of global adspend has been approaching for some time, but this is the first time it has appeared in our forecasts. However, 2021 will be the first year of single-digit internet adspend growth since 2001, the year the dotcom bubble burst.”

Leading the field again are online video and social media which are predicted to enjoy double digit growth rates of 18 and 17% through to 2021, with both sectors benefitting enormously from the emergence of 5G mobile technology.

At the other end of the scale paid search and classifieds are expected to face a far tougher market with the former managing growth of just 7% in 2021 while the latter is actually expected to contract by 1.6%.

Another recent Zenith report showed that mobile internet usage has now hit an incredible 800 hours per year, the equivalent of 33 days continuous consumption.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.