As in the U.S., the pandemic-induced ad spend fall-off in the UK this year could have been worse, according to GroupM’s new forecast for the country.
“Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the scale of its impact on the U.K. is relatively clear by now,” writes Brian Wieser, GroupM’s Global President-Business Intelligence, “Overall, our forecast predicts a decline of 4.4% for 2020 [to an estimated $28 billion] which is much improved over our prior expectation of a 12.5% decline that we forecasted in June. While the economy was historically weak as anticipated, marketers both large and small proved to be relatively resilient. “
The GroupM UK forecast for 2021 is growth of 12.4% to about $31.5 billion with
growth in the mid-single-digit range in the following three years.
Digital is a bright spot in many countries including the UK, where digital is estimated to grow 4.9% this year, following 16% growth in 2019.And in 2021 Wieser foresees an additional 12% growth for the medium followed by growth of 7% or so for the following couple of years.
The uncertainty of Brexit continues to loom over the British economy, Wieser notes. But Brexit’s impact on the advertising market next year “will be limited to a shift in spending away from the first quarter rather than meaningful full-year cuts. More generally, we continue to assume that “normal” activity will return by the second half of the year, which pre-supposes that Brexit will not cause ongoing problems and that an effective vaccine will be widely distributed across the population.”
Ecommerce has soared this year in Britain, up 53% in Q3 alone. “We anticipate that ecommerce-related advertising will continue to experience rapid growth, rising around 50% this year and 66% next year, reaching £2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) in media owner ad revenue by 2024.”
TV ads will fall 10% this year, “the worst rate of decline since 2009, but better than we anticipated earlier this year,” Wieser stated, adding that a 10% gain is expected for the medium in 2021 and a “return to 2019 levels in 2022.”