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Pitch deck running low on hard numbers? Presentation slides looking a little bare? Allow us to help. Each week, we gather the insightful new research you may have missed to inform your work or inspire a new idea.

This week, we highlight new research on industry-wide ad revenues, the economic impact of the pandemic and consumer habits in coming months.

Ad revenue on social to cross $50bn mark

Revenue taken by Facebook, Linkedin and other social media platforms is predicted to be over $50bn this year, according to research from TradingPlatforms.com and Statista.

Their report claims revenue from display advertising alone will grow 16.7% this year, compared to 2020. That’s a fairly sized packet – for context, Jeff Bezos is said to have spent $5.5bn to get himself into space this week.

Public plans on splashing the (contactless) cash

New figures on consumer spend intentions from Integral Ad Science suggests the public is getting ready to loosen the purse strings as restrictions lift in England. Unsurprisingly, consumers highlighted dining out, travel and entertainment as priorities. The company surveyed 500 UK consumers in June 2021.

92% said they planned to keep at least one of the habits picked up during lockdown, with almost half (49%) saying they’d keep using online shopping as a primary means of consumption, and 45% saying they’d never go back to cash. Saving, however, seems to be one habit the public plan on ditching: while 27% said they’ve saved more during lockdown, 38% plan on increasing their spending this year.

100,000 creative jobs lost to pandemic

Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation have published a report, The UK Creative Industries, which contains some sobering stats – including a calculation that 100,000 jobs and £12bn in gross value added (GVA) were lost during the pandemic. Freelancers were affected five times as much as permanent staff. Advertising and marketing are estimated to have lost £1.9bn in GVA and as many as 11,000 jobs in the UK; the report suggests Wales and the north east of England will be the slowest regions to recover from last year’s travails.

Karen Blackett, WPP UK country manager and GroupM UK chief executive officer, said: “Our creative industries play an important role in contributing to the growth of the UK economy by creating jobs and prosperity for people and communities in every part of the country. Through investment, we can ensure that our world-leading creative sector is powered by people from every walk of life.”

Consumers don’t want to see masks in stock photos

The fight against Covid-19 may dominate the news agenda, but readers don’t want to be reminded of it by stock photography.

Research by stock service iStock found one third (33%) of the British public were content to see mask-wearing stock models, with almost as many (27%) outright against such imagery. Apparently, consumers are more supportive of imagery which shows social distancing, with 83% approving of that representation.

Its survey collected data from 10,000 consumers worldwide, including 500 Britons.

Jacqueline Bourke, head of creative insights EMEA for iStock, said brands should be careful how they depict life under current circumstances. She said: “Advertisers and businesses ... need to carefully balance the present and future with a multi-layered visual strategy, which is respectful and inclusive of all audiences.”

Young workers looking forward to office return

Electronics firm Sharp has surveyed 6,000 workers across Europe on their attitudes to returning to the office. After 14 months of being cooped up inside, a majority (66%) of British workers aged 21-30 are eager to get back.

A slim majority (53%) of that same cohort said their work-life balance had become blurred during lockdown, though 66% said they’d found staying connected to colleagues more difficult in lockdown. Across the entire European sample, workers said employers lacking the suitable tech, offices with restricted layouts, having to share facilities with other companies, poor accessibility and bad interior design, and a lack of variety for meeting spaces were blockages in the way of their return.

Businesses unprepared for hybrid reality

Another survey this week suggests that small businesses are particularly at risk of losing staff if they don’t seriously invest in remote working. A survey by telco Zen Internet of 1,000 SMEs in the UK found 86% of employers said they were willing to offer hybrid working set-ups, but that almost a fifth (17%) said they weren’t prepared to put it into practice. Even after 14 months of working from home, 21% said staff were unable to access company systems from home and 46% said poor internet connections were a major challenge.

Similarly, research of 1,000 executives by outsourcing company KellyOCG in 13 APAC countries found companies underprepared. In Singapore, executives seem particularly unreceptive to change: just 18% offered staff extra time off, only 24% said they’d rejigged staff targets amid the pressures of the pandemic and 57% said they didn’t offer any flexible time options – all figures below the average for Asia Pacific.