U.K. Ad Market to Expand by 9.2 Percent in 2022


Due to high inflation rates and a rise in cost-of-living expenses, the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report has downgraded U.K. adspend forecasts for 2022.

The U.K. ad market is poised to hit £34.9 billion this year, a 9.2 percent increase, marking a 1.7 percentage point downgrade from the July forecast. Adspend was up 8.8 percent in Q2 to £8.6 billion, while in the first half it was up 14.4 percent to £16.7 billion.

Television was the only medium that showed a decline in Q2, falling by 0.6 percent, while BVOD was up 9.3 percent. For Q4, the World Cup is expected to help increase adspend by 4.5 percent, with TV remaining flat at £1.7 billion but VOD rising by 4.2 percent.

In 2023, the U.K. ad market is expected to grow by 3.9 percent to £36.2 billion, a 0.5 percentage point decline on the previous forecast this summer. Next year will see online advertising take a 75.2 percent share of adspend, up from 74 percent this year. TV is expected to remain flat in 2023, with BVOD rising by 7.2 percent.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association, commented, “It is encouraging to see strong figures in Q2, with media channels continuing their recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking forward, political and economic stability is much-needed, given the inflationary and recessionary forces impacting all businesses. As companies navigate these pressures, we see them continuing to prioritize advertising investment to protect their brands in exceptionally challenging market conditions.”

James McDonald, director of data, intelligence and forecasting at WARC, added, “With the economic picture worsening amid ongoing political incertitude, the likelihood of a recession is now higher than when we last assessed market prospects in the summer. Indeed, we have downgraded U.K. ad market growth expectations for this year and next, in large part to reflect the waning climate.

“Higher costs are carving into advertisers’ margins and household budgets alike, and trading conditions are at their worst since the Covid outbreak, leading to muted expectations for the Christmas quarter. Against this deteriorating economic backdrop, a 9.2 percent rise in advertising investment this year would be impressive given that it is near double the average rate of expansion recorded prior to the pandemic.”