The UK’s authoritative advertising statistics, released today by the Advertising Association/Warc, show advertising expenditure reaching £9,424m – a record high – in the first half of 2015. Continued strong performances in digital channels have resulted in a growth of 5.8%.

Mobile adspend grew 52.1% to break the billion pound barrier in a half-year period for the first time. Overall internet spend for H1 increased 13.3% to £3,975m, with mobile accounting for 79% of this growth.

Separate research from Warc’s Global Adspend Database highlights the UK’s leading position in mobile advertising in Europe, and the third highest spend globally after the US and China.

Tim Lefroy, Chief Executive at the Advertising Association said:

“Advertising’s resilience points to the strength of the broader economy in the first half. The UK leads the world in e-commerce and the trend to mobile means serving the public better – ads in the right place at the right time.”

TV spot advertising performed particularly well, with a 7.1% increase from 2014 – upgrading forecasts for TV adspend to 7.1% in 2015. Steady growth was seen across traditional areas, including radio, cinema, out-of-home and direct mail.

Advertising spend is predicted to break the £20bn barrier in 2016, with a 5.8% rise in 2015 and a 5.3% rise in 2016.

The Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report is the definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK. It is the only source that uses advertising expenditure gathered from across the entire media landscape, rather than relying solely on estimated or modelled data. With total market and individual media data available quarterly from 1982, it is the most reliable picture of the industry and is widely used by advertisers, agencies, media owners and analysts.


At-a-glance media summary

TV spot advertising recorded solid YOY growth of 2.9% to £1,144m in Q2, compared to a quarter in which the FIFA World Cup was held last year. Spot also had an exceptional Q1, when ad revenues rose 11.5%. Growth for the first six months stood at 7.1%, and an increase of 6.7% is forecast for 2015 as a whole.
Radio adspend (excluding branded content) fell by 2.2% to £116m in Q2, although Q1 growth of 8.2% put net spend in positive territory over H1 (+2.9%). Full-year growth is forecast at 3.0% in 2015, and 2.3% when including branded content.
Out of home adspend dipped 3.6% to £249m in Q2, but this followed strong YOY growth of 9.7% in Q1. This takes OOH to 2.3% growth for H1 2015. AA/Warc predicts a rise of 3.8% for the year as a whole, with the rugby World Cup providing a boost in Q3.
National newsbrands print ad revenues declined by a substantial 19.2% in Q2 2015 to £239m, with digital adspend up 5.9% to £51m. Altogether the sector recorded a drop of 15.7% for the quarter and 11.3% for the first half. AA/Warc predicts a decline of 7.7% for the year.
Regional newsbrands recorded a decline of 7.2% in adspend in Q2 2015 compared with last year. This represents a 12.1% drop for print (to £246m) and a 24.0% increase for digital revenues (to £55m). Forecasts have been revised down to a 4.2% decline in 2015 (-1.2pp).
Magazine brands adspend dipped 6.8% in Q2, comprising an 11.0% decline for print (to £168m) and a 5.2% uptick for digital (to £70m). Overall, ad revenues fell 5.4% during H1. Total adspend is predicted to decline 5.0% this year.
Cinema adspend saw a YOY fall of 10.8% in Q2 2015 to £40m. Adspend over the first six months rose 2.7% however, and blockbusters such as the new James Bond and Star Wars films are expected to aid overall growth of 5.1% this year.
Internet adspend rose 12.8% in Q2 2015, following upwardly revised growth of 13.9% in Q1 (+1.1pp). This represents an increase of 13.3% for H1. AA/Warc anticipates overall growth of 12.8% in 2015. Mobile accounted for 79% of total internet growth during H1, with adspend of £1,079m (up 52.1%). Full-year growth in mobile adspend is forecast at 47.2%.
Direct Mail adspend recorded a YOY increase of 3.1% to £476m in Q2 2015, which follows growth of 5.9% in Q1. This resulted in sector growth of 4.5% over the first six months. AA/Warc expects direct mail to see average growth of 1.4% in H2, culminating in full-year growth of 2.9%.

expenditure report growth tim lefroy warc