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WARC: Global Advertising Spend to Rise by 12.6 Percent


According to the latest figures from WARC, global advertising spend is on track for 12.6 percent growth this year to reach $665 billion, a sharp upgrade from the 6.7 percent initially projected.

Further growth, of 8.2 percent, is predicted for 2022, with the global advertising market to be worth more than $700 billion.

WARC’s quarterly research from 100 markets finds that advertising spend in the second quarter rose 23.6 percent to $157.6 billion, marking a new high for a Q2 period and the strongest rise in over a decade. This growth was driven mostly by online formats, which collectively saw spend rise by 31.2 percent. Linear TV grew by 11.5 percent.

For linear TV, spend is projected to grow 7.1 percent to $168.1 billion this year, equal to a quarter (25.3 percent) of the global ad market. Investment is expected to rise by a further 2.7 percent in 2022, though this means just 60 percent of 2020’s losses will be recovered by 2022.

In North America, spend is expected to rise by 12.8 percent this year to reach $254.9 billion, with a 12.7 percent increase to $242.5 billion in the U.S. and a 14.5 percent gain to $12.3 billion in Canada. North America will see spend rise 8.4 percent next year to reach a new high of $276.3 billion.

Regional advertising investment in the Asia Pacific is forecast to increase by 12.8 percent this year to top $200 billion for the first time. This will be driven by the Chinese ad market, which is expected to grow by 16.3 percent to exceed $100 billion for the first time. Japan is forecast to rise 8.9 percent to $44.4 billion and Australia by 11.6 percent to $12.2 billion. India will see strong growth, up 16.1 percent to $8.2 billion, but 2021 investment will not fully recover 2020’s losses.

Spend in Europe is expected to increase by 12.1 percent this year to reach $154.6 billion, with 6.5 percent growth projected for 2022. The quickest growing major markets for the year are Spain, poised to grow 16.6 percent to $7.6 billion, and the U.K., 15.5 percent growth to $33.3 billion. Russia (14.4 percent to $9.3 billion), Italy (11.9 percent to $9.9 billion), France (11.4 percent to $15.7 billion) and Germany (9.7 percent to $26.6 billion) will also see strong growth, though Spain and Russia will not recover all of 2020’s losses this year.

In Latin America, ad investment is forecast to rise by 16.9 percent in 2021 and 11.1 percent in 2022 to reach $24.8 billion. This is still down 7.8 percent from 2019 levels, as Brazilian adspend fell by more than a third in 2020, with 22.3 percent growth projected for this year and a 12.4 percent rise expected in 2022 to reach $13.2 billion.

Regional advertising growth in the Middle East will be 6.2 percent this year and will then increase to 15.1 percent in 2022. The total investment for 2022 is forecast at $13.2 billion, which is still $1.2 billion less than the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

In Africa, spend is predicted to rise by 9.7 percent this year to reach $6.2 billion, with further growth of 7.3 percent expected next year.

James McDonald, managing editor of WARC Data and author of the report, said: “New quarterly research, collated from 100 markets worldwide, shows for the first time the true extent of the digital shift in response to the coronavirus outbreak last year. Growth in online adspend has typically tracked some 20 percentage points ahead of offline media, but in the final quarter of 2020, this leaped to a remarkable 41 points—an absolute difference of $41 billion.

“Investment in offline media fell by $63 billion worldwide in 2020, marking the worst year in living memory for the majority of media owners. All media are forecast to record growth this year, with most sustaining this into 2022. Yet, as has been seen before, it is the online platforms that are set to benefit most from the ad market’s recovery.”

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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