IPA Bellwether shows small rise in marketers’ optimism

The last quarter of 2020 was another disaster for marketers, agencies and media owners but they’re cautiously optimistic as they head into 2021, with a Brexit trade deal cobbled together and vaccines in the UK fuelling hopes that this current lockdown might be the last.

Could have written this any time over the last month, without the aid of the IPA’s Bellwether report but it’s out now and that’s what it says.

According to the survey a net balance of -24% of Bellwether panelists (marketers) recorded a contraction in marketing budgets in Q4 2020. Overall 16.4% recorded an increase while 40.4% experienced a decline.

So is there light at the end of the tunnel? A net balance of +12.0% expect their total marketing budgets to be upwardly revised in 2021. Better than 2020 obviously, IHS Markit, which compiles the report, expects UK GDP to show a -11.6% decline leading to a -17.8% fall in adspend. For most media the decline is well into -20% plus range, only digital keeping its head above water.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair says: “As the vaccination roll-out continues, as the lockdowns begin to ease and as firms adapt to post-Brexit rules, perhaps we can dare to ready ourselves for the roaring twenties after all.”

Steady on Paul. Neither should it escape us that the ‘roaring (19)20s’ were topped off by the Wall Street Crash and a worldwide slump in the 1930s.

IHS Markit expects a 3.5% expansion of UK GDP in 2021 – mainly in the second half – followed by 4.9% in 2022. This would convert into adspend increases of 6.9% this year and 6.2% next.

Better – but don’t hang out the bunting yet.

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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.

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