SMI - Signs of recovery in August media agency numbers

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 8 October 2020

Ad spend, as reported by media agencies, fell 17.2% in August, the strongest improvement since the depths of the economic fallout from COVID-19. 

This month is the third in a row of show progressively lower ad spend falls, according to SMI (Standard Media Index) numbers. 

In July, SMI numbers marked a 28.4% fall in national marketer advertising spend compared to a 35.7% drop in June and a record slide of 40.4% in May.

In August, digital media reported the lowest year-on-year fall of 4.7%, driven by strong growth among social media and video-based websites (such as TV streaming sites), and TV reported a solid result (-11%).

smi aug 2020 - trend

An important driver of the market improvement in August was the second month of stronger spending from retailers, mostly supermarkets, chemists and online retailers. Retail category spending was up 20% in August. 

All SMI product categories reported growth, a big turnaround from two months ago when the ad spend for all 40 categories was in decline. 

The improvement in the Australian market mirrors that in other global advertising markets, with SMI reporting an 18.1% fall in NZ ad demand in August, an 18.7% decline in UK ad spend and 10.6% down in Canadian.

"Demand is clearly picking up quickly as this month we’ve also seen strong double digit growth in ad spend for household cleaning products, technology businesses (both for hardware and software products and services) and smaller categories such as oral and haircare,’’ says Jane Ractliffe, SMI AU/NZ managing director. 

"Of course the COVID-affected categories such as Travel, Live Entertainment and Movies/Cinema/Theme Parks are still reporting devastating declines in ad spend but outside of those areas the higher demand from other categories is beginning to move the market to a far more stable position." 
smi aug 2020

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