IPA Bellwether confirms Covid-19 UK ad slump – probably with worse to come

UK marketing budgets have taken a tumble in Covid-19 – which won’t surprise anyone – according to the latest quarterly IPA Bellwether report, the worst reduction since the global financial crisis in 2009.

A quarter of panel members recorded a budget cut, compared to 18.9% signalling growth, with adspend forecast to shrink in 2020, before a recovery next year. All sectors were down roughly ten per cent with market research the worst at 21 per cent, followed by events and PR. Main media advertising was down ten per cent. A net balance of +16.2% of respondents expected higher spending over the next 12 months.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair says: “These are undoubtedly the toughest overall trading times that any business and indeed any marketer will have ever experienced, but while we suspect the fuller, sharper extent of this global pandemic to be captured in Q2 data, the hope from this report is that we will see a more upbeat end to the year.”

The data was gathered between March 2 and 27 and, one suspects, would be far worse had it covered the start of April. Agencies and media owners will be praying that the next quarterly report shows signs of an upturn in June.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.