Ad Market Expands For 10th Consecutive Month, But Shows Sharp Deceleration In December

U.S. ad spending rose for its tenth consecutive month in December, but the rate of expansion decelerated markedly from recent months.

The data, which is based on a MediaPost analysis of Standard Media Index's (SMI) U.S. Ad Market Tracker, shows that total spending rose only 1.4% vs. December 2020.

And while it is the biggest volume for December since SMI began indexing the U.S. marketplace -- up 8.4% from the pre-pandemic comparison in December 2019 -- an analysis of advertising categories indicates the expansion is far from even, as almost all the growth has come from advertising's long tail.

The top 10 ad category spending fell 6.8% vs. December 200, while all other categories expanded 14.1%. Compared with December 2019, the top 10 ad categories were flat, while all others are up 21.2%.

"Full calendar year investment reached a record high," SMI's analysts noted, indicating that in terms of the broader view, the U.S. ad industry appears to have fully emerged from the COVID-19 recession, with the full year market rising 18% over 2020 and 9% over 2019 (see related story for full-year, quarterly and explicit media ad-spending trends).



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