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Advertising in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts

The United Kingdom is the largest advertising market in Europe and one of the leading advertising markets worldwide. Every year, brands and companies spend billions of pounds on promotion to boost awareness, strengthen competitive standing, and drive sales. In 2020, advertising spending in the UK amounted to 21 billion British pounds, and even though ad spend contracted due to the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, expenditures are forecast to ramp up as early as 2021. Healthy growth and recovery are not forecast for all advertising channels, though, as a digital revolution is sweeping the UK’s advertising world.

Traditional media and advertising: no longer a perfect union?

Traditional media formats no longer dominate the UK’s ad market as consumers gradually turn to digital channels for information, communication, and entertainment. TV ad revenue in the UK has steadily declined since 2015, reaching its lowest figure in over a decade in 2020. A similar downward trend is showing for ad investments in direct mail, newsbrands, and magazine promotion. On the other side of the coin, timelines show that expenditures on radio, cinema, and outdoor promotion had all been increasing prior to 2020. COVID-19 hit traditional advertising channels particularly hard, and while digital platforms were much less affected due to the pandemic-induced spike in internet usage, UK cinemas witnessed an unprecedented drop in ad earnings.

Digital media: the new star on the UK’s advertising horizon

The UK’s advertising landscape has undergone a fundamental digital transformation over the past few years. In reacting to the ongoing changes in consumer behavior and the digitalization of everyday life, advertisers now direct more funds and attention towards digital ad channels than ever – at the expense of traditional ones. The internet has long overtaken TV as the top advertising medium in the UK, and according to the latest forecasts, this trend is unlikely to reverse in the future. Advertisers spent more than 22 billion euros on digital promotion in 2020, cementing the UK’s position as the largest online advertising market in Europe. So which channels are advertisers directing their focus and ad dollars on? In 2020, search was the most popular digital ad format in the UK, with roughly 3.7 billion British pounds invested in search campaigns within the first half-year. Another driver of ad spend and revenue growth is social media, which is not surprising, considering the UK’s soaring social network use and mounting mobile penetration.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Advertising in the UK" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Traditional media

Digital media

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Advertising in the UK".

Advertising in the United Kingdom (UK)

Dossier on the topic

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Advertising in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts

The United Kingdom is the largest advertising market in Europe and one of the leading advertising markets worldwide. Every year, brands and companies spend billions of pounds on promotion to boost awareness, strengthen competitive standing, and drive sales. In 2020, advertising spending in the UK amounted to 21 billion British pounds, and even though ad spend contracted due to the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, expenditures are forecast to ramp up as early as 2021. Healthy growth and recovery are not forecast for all advertising channels, though, as a digital revolution is sweeping the UK’s advertising world.

Traditional media and advertising: no longer a perfect union?

Traditional media formats no longer dominate the UK’s ad market as consumers gradually turn to digital channels for information, communication, and entertainment. TV ad revenue in the UK has steadily declined since 2015, reaching its lowest figure in over a decade in 2020. A similar downward trend is showing for ad investments in direct mail, newsbrands, and magazine promotion. On the other side of the coin, timelines show that expenditures on radio, cinema, and outdoor promotion had all been increasing prior to 2020. COVID-19 hit traditional advertising channels particularly hard, and while digital platforms were much less affected due to the pandemic-induced spike in internet usage, UK cinemas witnessed an unprecedented drop in ad earnings.

Digital media: the new star on the UK’s advertising horizon

The UK’s advertising landscape has undergone a fundamental digital transformation over the past few years. In reacting to the ongoing changes in consumer behavior and the digitalization of everyday life, advertisers now direct more funds and attention towards digital ad channels than ever – at the expense of traditional ones. The internet has long overtaken TV as the top advertising medium in the UK, and according to the latest forecasts, this trend is unlikely to reverse in the future. Advertisers spent more than 22 billion euros on digital promotion in 2020, cementing the UK’s position as the largest online advertising market in Europe. So which channels are advertisers directing their focus and ad dollars on? In 2020, search was the most popular digital ad format in the UK, with roughly 3.7 billion British pounds invested in search campaigns within the first half-year. Another driver of ad spend and revenue growth is social media, which is not surprising, considering the UK’s soaring social network use and mounting mobile penetration.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Advertising in the UK".

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