Carat now expects 2015 spending to grow by 4.1 per cent for the region, a substantial drop from its earlier forecast of 5.2 per cent. Looking ahead to 2016, the company now predicts 4.7 per cent growth, also down from its earlier 5.8 per cent forecast.
China now accounts for 15.4 per cent of the global ad market, according to Carat, so that country's slowing economy and currency devaluation have influenced the overall forecasts.
As for China itself, Carat revised its 2015 estimate down from 7.9 per cent forecast in March 2015 to 6.0 percent. The 2016 prediction has been reduced too, from 8.1 per cent to 6.5 per cent.
Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia all have seen their 2015 and 2016 growth forecast drop as well—though it's important to note they are still expected to grow.
The outlook isn't completely gloomy though. Several markets are still on track for double-digit growth, according to Carat, including India at 11.0 per cent in 2015 and 12.0 per cent in 2016, Philippines at 10.2 per cent in 2015 and 12.3 per cent in 2016, and Vietnam at 11.3 per cent in 2015 and 13.5 per cent in 2016.
"Southeast Asia is still a key driver in raising ad spend in the region, with Vietnam and the Philippines leading that growth," Nick Waters, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Vietnam’s restructuring of its banking systems goes some way into explaining the confidence. Philippines is an emerging market with the highest population growth in Asia, newly industrialised with services and manufacturing driving business development and a presidential campaign set for 2016. Indonesia is less optimistic, with currency weakness softening economic expansion."
Carat also has increased its growth forecast for Japan, albeit modestly, from 0.9 per cent to 1.4 per cent for 2015 and from 1.2 per cent to 1.6 per cent for 2016.
Australia too is expected to spend more this year, from 1.0 per cent to 2.4 per cent for 2015 after "four years of stalling", Waters commented.
In terms of media, the company expects 56 per cent growth in mobile spend in China and 20 per cent growth for digital spend for the overall region. TV and print media will see smaller shares of overall spend, while digital's share grows from 21.6 per cent in 2015 to 24.7 per cent in 2016, according to the agency (see more APAC details below).