Zenith Forecasts Global Ad Spend to Drop 9.1% in 2020

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Media planning firm Zenith’s 2020 forecasts reflect an industry in the midst of great change. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

The takeaways:
  • A 9.1% fall in global advertising expenditure is forecast for this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In comparison, ad spending fell 9.5% during the 2009 recession.
  • U.S. ad spend is expected to decline by just 7%. “The U.S. has been relatively resilient, benefiting from record political spending in the run-up to the presidential elections in November,” the company explained.
  • The company forecasts that digital advertising will account for 51% of global ad spend this year, up from the 49.5% forecast in December. “The coronavirus forced brands to embrace digital advertising even faster than expected and made digital transformation of businesses more urgent than ever,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting. “This year will be the first in which digital advertising will attract more than half of total global ad spend, a milestone we previously expected in 2021.”

The bright side: Zenith reported that overall ad spending is “beginning to return,” forecasting a 5.8% increase in 2021, aided by the rescheduled Summer Olympics in Tokyo and UEFA Euro football championship.

What the numbers say: The pandemic seems to be accelerating the long-term decline of print advertising.

  • Newspaper ad spend is forecast to shrink by 21% globally this year and magazine ad spend by 20%.
  • Among traditional media, TV and radio fared best, with an estimated 11% and 12% decline respectively.
  • Digital advertising’s market share is estimated to reach 54.6% by 2022.

The roll-up: The forecasts paint a picture of the shifts and rifts in the media and publishing industry. As viewers turn their attention increasingly towards their screens, print publishers may need to re-think their place in an ever evolving industry.



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