Australia's biggest advertising spenders 2021

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 28 January 2022
Credit: Roselyn Tirado via Unsplash

The retail sector was the clear winner in 2021 when it came to ad spend, according to Nielsen Ad Intel's Top Advertising Report.

That sector invested more than $2.3 billion as house-bound Australians cooked up a storm, turned to DYI and generally worked on improving home living during COVID.

The boom in retail ad spend was largely due to household furnishings, homewares and supermarkets.

In second place, with an ad spend of more than $1 billion, was the communications category, which includes web content services, internet providers, mobile communications and telcos.

Financial institutions came in third, advertising heavily during the pandemic to support small to medium business customers. The bulk of the $731 million ad spend focused on helping businesses stay on their feet, while incentivising consumers to shop small and local.

nielsen 2021 Industries

Nielsen Ad Intel’s commercial lead, Rose Lopreiato: “Towards the latter half of last year, we saw a quicker recovery to the ad spend market, along with more competition between e-commerce retailers.

"We also saw an increase in the number of brands pivoting their strategies to maintain their customer base.

“We can see from the data that brands and agencies were forced to adjust which products were being marketed, along with their tone and messaging.

"The data also shows that some brands were far more effective at this than others. That’s why it’s crucial to have the right data and insights. It’s the best way to ensure you’re resonating with consumers and getting the most out of your ad budget.”

For individual advertisers, government primed the pump. Federal and state governments increased ad spend markedly, fueled by multiple COVID campaigns, encouraging vaccination, social distancing, and various public health measures.

Excluding government, homeware retailer Harvey Norman maintained its position as Australia’s largest retail advertiser, followed by Woolworths and Wesfarmers group (with Bunnings).

Ad spend for individual advertisers hasn't been released:

nielsen individual advertisers 2021

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