UK adspend passes £20bn as growth hits five-year high

Advertising expenditure grew at its highest rate since 2010 last year, increasing by 7.5% to £20.1 billion, according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report.

Internet adspend increased 17.3% to £8.6 billion, with mobile accounting for 78% of that growth, growing 61.1% to a total of £2.6 billion.

The UK is currently the largest internet advertising market in Europe and ranks third globally, behind the US and China.

Meanwhile, TV adspend rose 7.3% to a record £5.3 billion, with spot expenditure rising 6.7% and video on-demand increasing 20.7%.

Cinema adspend rose 20.8% to reach a new high of £238 million, driven by high-grossing films including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spectre.

Annual growth in adspend was also recorded for direct mail (+1.4% year-on-year to £1.9 billion), out of home (+3.9% to £1.1 billion) and radio (+2.9% to £592 million) last year.

Comenting on the figures, Tim Lefroy, chief executive at the Advertising Association, said: "The UK is the fastest-growing major advertising market in Europe, and its most successful exporter.

"It's a tribute to our creativity and technical innovation."

The data also show that as a share of GDP, UK adspend rose to 1.08% in 2015, higher than any other G7 nation. For every man, woman and child in the UK, £308.56 was spent on advertising last year.

Strong growth in total UK adspend is expected to continue with a rise of 5.5% forecast in both 2016 and 2017.

"2015 was a stellar year for the UK advertising industry, with almost all channels recording rising investment," said James McDonald, Warc's data analyst.

"Of the top ten ad markets by dollar spend worldwide, the UK's growth rate was the second-fastest last year.

"Digital formats such as native and social, which were relatively nascent in 2014, really began to bloom in 2015.

Simultaneously, industry staples such as TV and cinema benefited from major sporting events and blockbuster releases, respectively.

"We expect ad expenditure to grow by a healthy 5.5% this year and next, buoyed by increasing investment in mobile and TV formats in particular."

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