GroupM forecasts bigger boom in UK ad rebound

WPP’s GroupM has upgraded its ‘This Year Next Year’ forecast for UK ad revenue, from a pretty spectacular 24% to 30%. This is due to stronger than expected growth in TV and digital.

Mind you, the forecast was presumably prepared before the current lorry driver crisis which means that many companies, including retailers, are short of products. There must be a few supermarkets and others reviewing their Christmas ad plans.

Here goes:


GroupM expects +19% growth in advertising revenue growth for 2021, faster than the +13% previously estimated.

This started with England’s success at the Euro’s and continued well into Q3. September market revenues grew 28% year-on-year.

The shortening of advance booking deadlines may have reduced the barriers to entry for some advertisers, particularly digital-native brands who have been tempted by the ability to conduct short-notice tests.


Expansion is expected to be +34% this year, largely being driven by the scaled digital platforms that once again posted strong revenue gains for the last quarter, with very little sign of slowing down.


Audio has recovered more quickly than expected, with revenue growth expected at +18% vs. 2020 reflecting an increase over 2019 levels. Going into 2022, continued growth is expected as marketers continue to experiment with the opportunities created by smart speakers and invest more in podcast content.


The short-term outlook for print will likely feature revenue decline reflecting consolidation driven by larger players like Future PLC, before a return to low-single digit growth by 2026.

But there has been faster than expected growth in digital print revenues, and the expectation now is that the share of digital will be greater than non-digital in all print categories by 2023.


Outdoor continues its recovery as footfall returns with the easing of lockdown restrictions. However the rebound has been less dramatic than anticipated and while it’s expected to return to pre-COVID levels, that may not happen until 2022.

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