Digital marketing lifts British ad growth projections through 2020

By John Glenday | Reporter



advertising article

December 2, 2019 | 4 min read

GroupM has posted a bullish set of ad growth projections through this year and next, lifted by a growing share of spending being directed towards digital marketing at the expense of traditional companies.

The report from the media buying group for next year paints a buoyant picture of the UK advertising market which is projected to grow 7.8% in 2019, with 2020 falling not far behind at 6.7%, at which point the industry will be worth £24bn.

The report stated: “Despite all the uncertainty facing the United Kingdom in 2019, the media industry has held strong. Our estimate that advertising will grow by +7.8% this year marks the sixth consecutive year of mid-to-high-single-digit growth. Since 2013, the U.K.’s advertising sector has expanded by more than half, up +55% over that year’s levels, and, with that growth, the U.K. is unambiguously the fourth largest market on Earth.


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“If recent growth trends were to persist, within five years the U.K. would possibly match Japan’s size and become the third-largest.”

Double-digit digital advertising growth of 15% in 2019 is being led by digital-first marketers including the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet, eBay, IAC, Uber and who will collectively spend over £25bn in 2019.

Elsewhere traditional TV advertising is expected to be flat in 2020 following a 2.3% contraction this year as political uncertainty surrounding Brexit dissipates.

Not all traditional advertising mediums are becalmed however with outdoor setting the pace as the fastest-growing component, setting the pace at 8% this year before slipping to between 4 and 5% over the next five years.

There is no such silver lining for print however whose outlook continues to be classed as ‘weak’ with declines of 7% this year and 6% next year.

The report is significantly more optimistic than GroupM's last projection made as recently as June when 2019 ad spend was put at just 6.1%.


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