Advertising Growth Resumption a Digital Tale


Here’s the good news: Global advertising spend is expected to grow 5.8% in 2021 as the industry begins to recoup the 8.8% fall in 2020 brought about by the impact of COVID-19.

Now, the not-so-great news from Dentsu: digital is expected to account for half of all expenditure for the first time.



The first dentsu Ad Spend Report since the global pandemic began anticipates that $579 billion USD will be spent globally, with all regions enjoying positive growth.

Digital is powering the recovery, with Social (18.3%), Search (11.0%) and Video (10.8%) expected to benefit the most.

That said, television will benefit — we believe — from the postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Concerns over a possible cancellation loom large, and this could impact NBCUniversal in the U.S.

Even if the Olympics are to occur, the positive signs of momentum in 2021 won’t fully recover the carnage the pandemic brought to advertising.

“A return to pre-pandemic levels of advertising spend is unlikely until 2022, when spending is likely to reach $619 billion and grow at a rate of 6.9%,” dentsu says.

“While a return to growth will be welcomed all round, the road to recovery for marketers should be supported by investing in ways that will put consumer intelligence at the heart of their business strategies,” notes Peter Huijboom, Global CEO Media for dentsu international. “We know from our own CMO survey that understanding consumer behavior in a post-pandemic world is the biggest challenge marketers face. To build hyper-empathy in this new reality will require a real focus and investment in data, e-commerce, and new technologies like connected TV as well as building deeper partnerships across all areas of the industry.”

For the U.S., the 2021 growth forecast is at 3.8%, compared to a 7.5% decline in growth in 2020.

For 2022, the forecast is for 8% growth.

In Canada, the 2021 growth forecast is pegged at 7.2%. But, the Canadian economy suffered -9.6% growth in 2020.

Meanwhile, Italy and Spain are set to experience tepid growth after major 2020 contractions.

By media, global shares of ad media spend show flat growth for radio (5.8%), with a slight dip to 5.5% in 2022.

Meanwhile, global TV ad spend is in a slow decline, moving to 29.9% in 2021 from 31.1% in 2020. It is forecast for 29.6% in 2022.