GroupM issued its biannual This Year, Next Year futures report, forecasting global ad spend will reach $534 billion in 2014, a 4.5% increase over 2013. The company predicts investments in 2015 rising an additional 5.0% to $560 billion – finally exceeding the pre-crisis peak of 2007/2008 in real terms.
Globally, ad recovery is localized, with 17 markets accounting for 93% of expected ad growth in 2014. Even at its moderate 3.4% rate of ad investment growth this year to $162 billion, the United States contributes fully one-quarter of incremental ad dollars. China ranks second as it climbs a predicted 9.8% to $76 billion. Other countries making the cut include Nigeria, Kenya and Vietnam.
“Many companies are still operating with very strong balance sheets,” said Dominic Proctor, President of GroupM Global. “Coupled with a rising general confidence and a specific comfort around digital marketing, though notwithstanding some geo-political uncertainty, we are seeing an uplift in some of the ‘older economies’ as well as the new.”
Of marketplace performance, This Year, Next Year report editor Adam Smith stated, “Despite the slowdown in China’s general economy from 2012, its consumer economy continues to expand. This, plus intensive digitization of advertising, keeps China ad investment rising at or near double-digits, with no large print legacy to correct.”
It is a different story in Western Europe, where 73% of the regional economy is in the Eurozone, in which demand remains suppressed by debt, internal imbalances and deflationary politics. In real terms, the Eurozone remains 20% below its 2007 advertising peak, and the hardest-hit ‘periphery’ of Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal, 47% below the peak.
Smith added, “Western Europe, however, is the most-digitized ad region in the world; though this may finally be maturing to judge by digital ad investment growth slowing from double- to high-single digits in 2014 and 2015.”
Western Europe also has the world’s most print-heavy advertising, though here, too, the downward adjustments to annual advertising investment are moderating from double- to mid-single-digits in 2014 and 2015.
Elsewhere, GroupM notes that some members of its south-east Asia group (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam) face political and economic challenges, and this year will collectively slip from double- to mid-single digit ad growth.
“This group will still contribute to the global ad recovery, but we are on alert for central banks ‘tightening into the downturn’ if inflation becomes a problem,” said Smith.
India, Brazil and Russia remain among the faster-growing ad markets, though GroupM warns that its reduced Russia forecast – from an annual run-rate of 10% to 6% — depends on no worsening in domestic affairs.