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Advertising spend in the UK hit a record high of £22.2bn in 2017, according to the latest figures from the Advertising Association and Warc Expenditure report.

The 4.6% increase in spend marks the eighth consecutive year of growth for the industry in the UK. It has led to a revision of the forecast for 2018, which has been upgraded by 1.4 percentage points to 4.2% growth while a rise of 3.8% is now predicted for 2019.

“These very impressive ad spend figures demonstrate the strength and resilience of the UK advertising industry over the course of 2017,” said AA chief executive Stephen Woodford.

“To see ad spend hit the £6bn mark in Q4 is a very encouraging result, as is the prediction that we will see 10 years of continued growth through 2019.”

According to a separate report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released yesterday (25 April), 2017 saw a 14.3% increase in digital ad spend to £11.55bn.

The AA/Warc report found digital formats performed well across the board over the course of 2017, up 26.3% for digital radio, 19.3% for national digital newsbrands, 7.1% for broadcaster video-on-demand. Spend on cinema also increased, showing growth of around 3.3%.

“Mobile continues to underpin growth – over 90% of additional mobile investment was directed towards search and social media in 2017 – yet there was vitality across the wider industry,” added James McDonald, data editor at Warc.

“Radio and cinema both recorded their fourth successive year of rising spend, while the out of home market expanded for the eighth year running. Further, we believe TV’s dip, caused mostly by reduced spending within the consumable goods category, is anomalous, and expect the channel to rebound this year thanks in part to the summer’s World Cup.“

Continued growth will depend on Brexit deal

Despite the positive numbers, the AA said that with Brtiain’s exit from the EU on the horizon it remains vital that the industry continues to engage with government to ensure the right deal is made.

The trade body welcomed the so-called ‘divorce deal’ set out by prime minister Theresa May in December but is still seeking clarity for what it will mean for businesses moving forward. 

The Association launched a campaign to warn of the damage that a Brexit deal that curbed freedom of movement for EU nationals would be costly to the sector.

“The UK is a hub for the global ad industry and, with our expertise and creativity, I am hopeful we can continue this run of success into the future,” continued Woodford.

“This success, however, is also reliant on getting the right deal from Brexit for our industry and ensuring we have access to the best talent to ensure British advertising remains a global powerhouse.”