Is Adland Brexit-Proof?

Amid the doom and gloom of another week running up to yet another "meaningful" vote on the UK leaving the EU, until the next one, it is worth noting that digital advertising would appear to be immune from Brexit wobbles.

This morning, Barclays published figures that predict double-digit increases in digital ad spend will mean the UK market will have notched up GBP15bn worth of sales by the end of the year. The report does not address Brexit directly, yet still comes up with what The Drum calls a "bullish" prediction.

It follows on, of course, from AA/Warc figures from which the headline was that as of third-quarter 2018, the UK had 21 consecutive quarters of ad-spend growth.

In fact, the first nine months of 2018 -- which obviously had Brexit running throughout as a constant nagging doubt -- were the strongest nine months since 2015, a year before the Brexit vote took place.

In the AA/Warc figures, mobile expenditure for third-quarter 2018 was up by nearly a quarter, and there was also a 12% year-on-year increase for internet ad spend.

The strong figures left AA/Warc predicting that advertising would be up 6% in 2018 and internet advertising doubling that growth -- with a 13% improvement on 2017 and mobile marketing nearly doubling that growth again, with a 27% leap in 2018. 

As for 2019, the figures suggest digital advertising will grow just under 10%, while mobile marketing will again double that improvement, with a 20% rise. Overall, the 9% growth in all advertising forecast for 2018 is tipped by AA/Warc to slow to 6% this year.

So Barclays is being a little more bullish with double-digit growth predicted for 2019, but the story is very familiar. Advertising -- particularly digital advertising -- appears to be Brexit-proof. 

From the breakdown given by AA/Warc, this year would appear not be a great time to be in direct mail or print, but otherwise all is good. Television is flatlining, but radio and outdoor are up and internet and mobile just keep on accelerating in growth.

It begs the question. As many industries continue to make dire warnings about a hard Brexit and car manufacturers are held up as the bellwether signs of business confidence falling through the floor, is adland the one British industry forecast to be Brexit-proof?

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