AA/WARC: U.K. Advertising Sees Strongest First Half on Record


New Advertising Association (AA)/WARC Expenditure Report data shows that U.K. advertising spend grew 3.7 percent to £10.8 billion ($14.3 billion) during the first six months of 2017, the largest first-half total of any year since monitoring began in 1982.

This record has led to an upgraded forecast for 2017 of 3.1-percent growth, which points to annual spend in excess of £22 billion ($29 billion). An increased spend on digital advertising is driving the market. Digital accounted for 54 percent of all advertising spend in the first half of the year, some £5.8 billion ($7.7 billion) of a total £10.8 billion ($14.3 billion) committed by advertisers.

Television saw a decrease of 4.4 percent from H1 2016 to H1 2017, though TV broadcaster VOD was up by 8.8 percent. For 2017, AA/WARC expects TV to decline 2.4 percent, though VOD will rise 9.8 percent. The forecast for the full-year 2018 is that TV will see a lift of 2.8 percent and VOD will see a 12-percent rise.

Stephen Woodford, the chief executive at the Advertising Association, said: “Spend on advertising is showing strong resilience at a time of real uncertainty for U.K. business. We know advertising has a positive effect on the economy, with every pound spent generating six pounds of GDP, so it is good to see steady, sustained growth. The upgrade of our 2017 forecast by a further 1 percent, the equivalent of an additional investment of £190 million, should be seen as a cautious indicator for continued growth in the U.K. economy.”

James McDonald, senior data analyst at WARC, commented: “The latest data highlight the importance of mobile to advertisers in the U.K.—spend on mobile ads accounted for the entirety of internet growth during the second quarter of 2017 and 97 percent over the first six months of the year. As mobile usage and credit-fueled consumer spending continue to rise, investment in mobile advertising will track ahead of other platforms this year.”