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Global Adspend to Drop 9.1 Percent in 2020


Zenith forecasts that global adspend will drop by 9.1 percent this year due to the coronavirus, with the global pandemic also accelerating the shift toward digital advertising.

Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts notes that the projected 2020 reduction is actually smaller than the contraction during the 2009 economic recession, when adspend shrank by 9.5 percent.

The ad market took its biggest hit between March and May, Zenith said, with brands now beginning to spend again. For 2021, Zenith projects a 5.8 percent recovery, boosted by the rescheduled Summer Olympics and UEFA Euro.

The U.S. decline is expected to be 7 percent, boosted by spending around this year’s Presidential elections. Asia Pacific is forecast to shrink by 8 percent, thanks to the success of some markets in keeping the virus under control. Western Europe is expected to take a 15 percent hit, while adspend will shrink by 8 percent in CEE. Zenith also projects double-digital declines in LatAm (13 percent) and MENA (20 percent).

Zenith also references a “rapid shift” from traditional to digital media in terms of ad budgets. Digital advertising is expected to have a 51-percent share of the ad pie this year, compared with the 49.5 percent forecast in December 2019, rising to 54.6 percent in 2022.

Digital will only drop by 2 percent in 2020. Television, meanwhile, is forecast to be down 11 percent this year, with a small recovery—of 2 percent—in 2021.

“The coronavirus forced brands to embrace digital advertising even faster than expected and made digital transformation of businesses more urgent than ever,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting. “This year will be the first in which digital advertising will attract more than half of total global adspend, a milestone we previously expected in 2021.”

About Mansha Daswani

Mansha Daswani is the editor and associate publisher of World Screen. She can be reached on [email protected]


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