Staff Reporters
Jul 7, 2019

Digital advertising to be more than 50% of spend by 2021

TOP OF THE CHARTS: The latest Zenith forecast also predicts slightly lower growth overall in 2019.

Digital advertising to be more than 50% of spend by 2021

Digital advertising will account for 52% of all ad spend in 2021, according to Zenith’s latest forecast.

The rapid rise of digital advertising has been forecast for some time, and it became the largest advertising medium in 2016. Zenith predicts it will make up 47% of total spend 2019, up from 44% in 2018.

However, overall digital ad growth is slowing down as markets mature. It grew 17% in 2018, and Zenith forecasts this will decrease to 12% in 2019, and will hit single digits—9%—by the time it accounts for more than half of ad spend in 2021.

Internet display advertising is the biggest driver of global adspend growth by some distance, driven by the continued growth of social media and online video. Zenith forecasts that internet display, search and classified advertising will contribute US$89 billon in extra adspend between 2018 and 2021.

These years will see further challenges for print media, with Zenith predicting a US$13 billion decline in spend. Television adspend is also expected to decline every year between 2018 and 2021, decreasing US$4 billon in total, while out-of-home is forecasted to see the largest growth of traditional advertising medium.

Overall, ad spend is predicted to grow 4.6% in 2019, a slight drop on Zenith’s previous 4.7% forecast. By region, fast-track Asia is predicted to slow to 4.7% growth between 2018 and 2021, due to maturing markets, especially China, having achieved significant scale. Advanced Asia is forecast to grow at 3.8% to 2021, while the most significant growth is predicted to be in Eastern Europe and Central Asia at 7% to 2021, although this is slower than the double-digit growth the region has been seeing in recent years.

The US remains by some way the world's largest advertising market, with China second. Zenith forecasts that almost half (US$13 billion) of the US$28 billion increase in ad spend in 2019 will come from the US, with China second contributing US$4 billion.

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