U.K. Advertising Spend Continues Growth Despite Brexit Concerns


U.K. adspend was up 6.3 percent year-on-year to reach £23.6 billion ($30.8 billion) in 2018, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, marking the ninth consecutive year of market growth and the highest annual total since monitoring began in 1982.

Advertising spend is forecast to grow 4.8 percent this year, with a further rise, to 5.5 percent, projected for 2020. This would take investment to over £26 billion ($34 billion).

Overall market growth is being driven by increasing spend on search (up 14.3 percent) and online display advertising (up 21.4 percent). TV was flat at 0.1 percent growth, with forecasts for 2.2 percent growth in 2019 and 3.4 percent in 2020. Of this, VOD saw 29.4 percent growth year-on-year, with forecasts for 26.3 percent for 2019 and 20.2 percent for 2020.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive at the Advertising Association, commented: “These figures demonstrate, once again, the strength and resilience of the U.K. advertising industry during a time of political and economic uncertainty in the U.K.—they are a testament to the world-class capabilities of the third of a million people working in advertising and marketing services across the U.K. With every pound spent on advertising generating six pounds of GDP, a strong advertising industry is a key pillar of a strong economy.

“With further growth predicted for both 2019 and 2020, U.K. advertising looks set to deliver over a decade of continuous growth. Like all U.K. industries, we hope to see a positive resolution of the Brexit situation, with business-friendly data, immigration and trade outcomes that could further boost this forecast growth.”

James McDonald, managing editor at WARC, commented: “Despite most traditional media being stagnant or in decline, the U.K.’s ad market expanded at its strongest rate since 2015 last year, and the growth is primarily being driven by rapidly rising investment in paid search and online display formats, particularly social media and online video.

“These online components account for just over half of U.K. advertising spend today, and both are almost entirely data-driven, enabling advertisers to pair their messaging with internet users based on their digital footprint. These tools are also accessible, enabling a long-tail of SMEs to invest, and this has transformed the DNA of advertising in recent years.”