It could be worse: WARC forecasts 8.1 % dip in 2020 global ad expenditure

Clearly depends which way you look at these things. Ad forecaster WARC headlines its latest numbers: Brands cut $50 billion from global adspend in wake of COVID-19. Ouch.

Then we read: Global adspend to fall 8.1% in 2020. Which, in the circumstances (and if it’s right of course) sounds pretty optimistic. UK adspend is forecast to fall 16% with Europe as a whole 13%. The US, the biggest market, is forecast to fall just 3.3%.

Overall this is better than post financial crash 2009 when spend fell 12.7 per cent.

Leading the way down are travel & tourism (-31.2%), leisure & entertainment (-28.7%), financial services (-18.2%), retail (-15.2%) and automotive (-11.4%).

By media online is the most resilient with social media (+9.8%), online video (+5.0%) and online search (+0.9%) expected to record growth. but at far lower rates than previously projected. Online classified – particularly recruitment advertising – is set to fall by 10.3%.

TV spend is forecast to fall 13.8% to $159.9bn, 9.6% in the US. TV is 28.4% of the global total.

WARC’s James McDonald says: “We note three distinct phases to the current downturn: firstly, an immediate demand-side induced paralysis for sectors such as travel, leisure and retail, combined with supply-side constraints for CPG brands. Second, the recessionary tailwind will exert extreme pressure on the financial services sector as well as the consumer, whose disposable income is now heavily diminished.

“Finally, as the world takes tentative steps towards a recovery, there will be an added emphasis on healthcare and wellbeing credentials among brands not normally associated with the field, aside higher spending within the pharmaceutical sector to leverage the shifting consumer mindset.”

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