Mobiles growth to push UK ad spend to $24bn by 2016


Global advertising spend is set to hit a new record high in each of the next three years, marking the “strongest sustained period of growth in 10 years”, according to a leading media-buying agency.

Zenith Optimedia said soaring use of smartphones and tablets is leading to increasing media consumption, while growing confidence in the world economy is encouraging brands to spend.

Ad growth is forecast to jump from 3.6 per cent this year to 5.3 per cent next year, with events such as the World Cup and US mid-term elections also lifting ad spend.

This is the second time that Zenith has upgraded its forecast for 2014, thanks in part to the growing strength of the UK economy.

The agency estimates the UK ad market, the world’s fifth largest behind America, Japan, China and Germany, to be worth $20.34bn (£12.45bn) in 2013, growing to $23.95bn by 2016.

Zenith, whose clients include Aviva, BBC Worldwide, Royal Bank of Scotland and O2, reckons global ad growth should rise even faster, at 5.8 per cent in both 2015 and 2016.

“Mobile is expanding overall media consumption,” said Zenith, a division of the French giant Publicis.

“This is the first time in the past 20 years that a new platform is expanding overall media consumption without cannibalising any of the other media platforms,” added the report, suggesting that mobile was complementary, whereas the rise of the internet had undermined traditional media.

Mobile advertising remains small, representing only 2.7 per cent of global ad spend, but it should almost triple to 7.7 per cent by 2016. Mobile is likely to overtake radio, posters and magazines to be the fourth-largest medium by 2016, behind the internet, TV and newspapers.

Advertising spend peaked in 2007, falling to a nadir in 2009 because of the financial crash. Spending has bounced back above pre-2007 levels, but that does not take into account inflation. Zenith believes it will take until 2016 for advertising to exceed 2007 levels on an inflation-adjusted basis.

Emerging markets will see slowing growth, after an explosive rise over the last 20 years.