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GroupM: UK ad spend on course to end 2021 up 30% on 2020

GroupM report forecasts 30% year-on-year ad market growth

The overall advertising market is set to grow by 30% on the previous year, according to a GroupM report, with strong TV and digital performances credited for the revenue boost.

The forecast, published in GroupM’s This Year Next Year UK 2021 report, is ahead of its June estimates of a 24% growth.

TV advertising underwent a ‘resurgence’ during the pandemic, with revenues on track to finish 2021 up 19% year-on-year, ahead of GroupM’s previous 13% forecast.

The Euros and a strong September have been key drivers of growth, along with the shortening of advance booking deadlines, which were credited for reducing barriers to entry.

By year end GroupM expects digital advertising to balloon by 34% year-on-year, up against the 27% previously estimated.

Higher digital estimates have been down to strong performing digital platforms, coupled with the rise of companies competing for market share with higher propensity to invest in advertising.

GroupM’s estimate comes after IAB’s latest Digital Ad Spend report valued digital marketing spend in the first half of 2021 at £10.5bn – a 49% year-on-year rise and 42% up on 2019.

The report did caution advertisers about hitting ‘speed bumps’ over the next few months, listing staff shortages, supply chain issues and rising infection rates as causes for concern.

“While these are risk factors on the horizon, we think that they are likely manageable and so we expect to see strong growth through the end of this year and into the next,” the report said.

Elsewhere, audio also made a healthy recovery, with expected growth posted at 18% on 2020. Audio is expected to flourish in 2022 as marketers experiment with smart speakers and supercharge investment in podcasts.

GroupM has forecast print to account for just 1% of ad revenues by the closing of 2021, with further decline on the horizon. Consolidation driven by big players such as Future PLC has been attributed as a factor.

The outlook for digital print revenues is cause for optimism, though, with share of digital on track to overtake non-digital in print by 2023.

In outdoor, football’s return has helped its bounce back, however revenues haven’t been as high as expected, with GroupM forecasting a full recovery in 2022.

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