Global ad spend roars higher

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 15 June 2021

Global advertising will grow by 19% in 2021, according to a re-forecast by analysts at GroupM

This represents a level of ad revenue that is 15% higher than pre-pandemic 2019. Revised estimates show 2020 only recording a 3.5% fall.

Australian ad spend is now forecast by GroupM to rise 18% in 2021. This is higher than Magna's latest estimate of 11.4% growth in the local market this year. 

"High growth should persist for the foreseeable future," write the GroupM analysts in an update.

"Midway through 2021, it has become apparent that the market is growing much faster than we expected and from a larger base than we previously believed.

"While many of these growth factors were in place before last year, the pandemic has proven to be an accelerant." 

GroupM now expects global advertising including US political to exceed $US1 trillion in 2026, up from $US641 billion in 2020 and $522 billion in 2016.

The analysts say concentration within the industry has increased in the last five years. In 2020, the top 25 media companies represented 67% of total advertising revenue. That same group of companies accounted for 42% in 2016.

Looking at individual markets, several should see better than 20% growth, including the U., Brazil, China and India. Many others will rise by the high teens, including Canada, Australia and the US.

groupm june 2021

Most of the improvement in growth belongs to digital media. GroupM forecasts 26% growth for all forms of pure-play digital media versus 15% at the time of its December update. 

Television is now expected to grow by 9.3% in 2021, an improvement from the previous 7.8% expectation. 

Expectations for audio were raised significantly in the update, with a forecast of 18% growth rather than December’s 8.7% level. 

Outdoor advertising should grow by 19% in 2021. 

"Factors causing higher than expected growth include faster than expected expansions of app ecosystems, rapid small business formation activities and the growing role of cross-border media marketplaces, especially involving manufacturers based in China," says GroupM.

"These elements are most tangibly contributing to accelerated growth in digital advertising. Other changes are taking root as well.

"Traditional TV network owners are prioritizing investments in content delivered on streaming services. While many of them will offer some ad inventory and capture a share of total TV advertising, those gains will only offset reduced spending on the traditional form of the medium.

"Consequently, we see faster growth in Connected TV+ advertising (what we previously called “digital extensions of traditional TV”) than previously forecast, but total television advertising will generally be stable or slow-growing.

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