Advertising Association/WARC Upgrade U.K. Ad Forecasts


U.K. advertising spend will rise by almost 25 percent to reach £29.3 billion this year, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report.

This follows the £1.8 billion decline in 2020, leaving the U.K. on course to achieve the fastest ad trade recovery of any major European market this year, WARC says.

In Q4 2021—the Christmas season—ad spend is expected to hit a record £7.9 billion, the forecast continues. TV advertising spend is set to see its largest Q4 increase in over a decade, with a projected 9 percent increase to hit £1.56 billion, with broadcaster video-on-demand up by 24.1 percent.

The Expenditure Report has also upgraded forecasts for 2022, with a 7.7 percent increase projected to £31.5 billion. TV is expected to be flat, rising just 0.6 percent next year following a projected 22.9 percent rise this year.

In Q2 2021, ad spend was up 86.5 percent to reach £7.7 billion, with TV up 85.9 percent (including VOD, up 112 percent).

“U.K. advertising’s recovery goes from strength to strength, following the sharp shock of the pandemic,” said Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association. “Ad spend is set to grow by 24.8 percent to a record £29.3 billion, proving advertising’s role as a vital engine for growth in the U.K. economy, particularly during the upcoming Christmas period. The forecast of strong online performance is further evidence of the U.K.’s position as the world’s most digitally advanced advertising market and Europe’s biggest.”

James McDonald, head of data content at WARC, added, “The latest data demonstrate bullish trade in the U.K.’s advertising sector despite potential inflationary headwinds and supply chain disruption in the run-up to Christmas. Strong fourth-quarter projections for TV—a medium heavily leveraged by retailers during the golden quarter—and search, which encompasses activity on e-commerce platforms, suggest it will be largely business as usual for the industry this year.”