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Advertising in the United Kingdom - statistics & facts

With an annual spend of 29 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, the United Kingdom (UK) is Europe’s top-performing market when it comes to advertising spend and the fourth largest globally after the United States, China and Japan. Aside from a drop in 2017, advertising spend in the UK has managed to see consistent year-on-year growth since 2009. This is also forecast for 2020. As a whole, the advertising industry drives the economy by fueling competition, creating jobs, and funding media platforms such as websites and search engines. Digitalization however, has led to significant changes in advertising formats in recent years. Search engines, online display, online radio and video on demand were advertising platforms that saw growth in 2018. Conversely, traditional advertising through print forms such as magazines, newspapers and mail saw a decline.

Digital advertising


Advertisers are shifting their focus towards today’s most popular platforms – namely, those online. Digital advertising industry spend has been on the rise since 2007, and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. This amounted to 14 million British pounds in 2019, and was forecast to hit 15.6 million British pounds in 2020. In 2018, Google was the industry leader when it came to digital advertising with a 40 percent market share while Facebook in second place claimed 22.7 percent of the market share that year. However, being marketed to online clearly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, with the percentage of adults in the UK using ad blockers having increased each year since 2015.

Social media advertising


Thanks to its wide reach and fast-growing user base – the majority of whom are tech-savvy millennials aged between 25-34 years old - social media and influencer marketing is growing rapidly. In 2018, this generated nearly 2.1 billion U.S. dollars worth of revenue in the UK alone, the highest revenue in any European country. With social media penetration expected to increase year-on-year globally until 2025, the industry’s outlook is bright. In a 2019 survey, 39 percent of UK retailers expected Facebook to drive the most value for their business over the next five years, while 18 percent said the same for YouTube and Instagram respectively.

Coronavirus impact on the industry


Advertising spend in the UK took a hit during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. With cinema closures having lasted nearly 4 months across the nation, advertising spend on the big screen is expected to be affected the most. Search and online display advertising, on the other hand, were predicted to be the least affected by the lockdown. Things are looking up for 2021 though, with the industry expected not only to recover, but also see an overall 13.6 percent growth in expenditure.



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Advertising in the United Kingdom (UK)

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