Ad spend market starts the year down 8.2%, with retail back 27.9%

The ad spend market in Australia was 8.2% back in January as reported by Standard Media Index’s (SMI) latest figures, marking the 16th consecutive month of local decline. Retail was back 27.9%, while auto dropped 10.8% as both categories continue to struggle.

2019 was a tough year for the market, and 2020 is off to an equally difficult start thanks to continuing economic headwinds, the ongoing impacts of the bushfire emergency, and the unravelling effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

SMI AUNZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said Australia has not fared as well as the US and UK, despite facing some overlapping challenges.

Category growth in January [Click to enlarge]

SMI pointed to ‘bright spots’ of cinema (-0.8%), national newspapers (+32%), regional radio (+0.8%) and social media (-0.3%), but noted the “perplexing” discrepancy between Australia and New Zealand’s performances.

Overall, the New Zealand market was up 2%, with radio growing 29%, TV 2%, outdoor 0.2% and digital back just 0.8%. Ractliffe said the difference between investment in each country is strange given the number of large trans-Tasman advertisers.

“General Retail ad spend grew 4.8% in NZ in January but in Australia the same category is reporting a 10.8% fall in advertising and similarly Home Furnishing/Appliance ad spend in Australia fell 3.6% but grew 14% in NZ,” she explained.

The New Zealand market, however, has managed to return to stability far quicker and easier, experiencing growth after just three months of soft demand following a record September (thanks to the Rugby World Cup and local elections).

SMI this month also launched a new ‘data dimension’ to provide further visibility on outdoor ad spend. The new outdoor client count and average category detail means subscribers can better understand what is driving product category ad spend to these formats.

An example of the new ‘average category’ data available for the travel sector [Click to enlarge]


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