Market enters 2022 with momentum despite ‘dynamic’ situation, says Nunn Media’s Chris Walton

Nunn Media Sydney’s managing director Chris Walton told Mumbrella the biggest ad spend climber across all channels – radio (8.5%) – was likely down to it righting itself, after an uncertain November in 2020.

This comes in the wake of the Standard Media Index (SMI) numbers yesterday reporting the biggest November on record, with media bookings totalling $852 million.

“That was probably more reflective of a weakness in November 2020, than a strengthened 2021,” said Walton. “This was the biggest November on record, which is good, COVID or no COVID, but certainly when you think back to the previous November, we weren’t emerging from that first lockdown evenly.”


“There were certain media such as TV and digital being the main two that kind of came storming out, after the first lockdown.”

Looking ahead, Walton said the situation the industry finds itself in is “quite dynamic”, with the latest wave bringing COVID much closer to home for many people. However, he said in looking at trends from other countries, assuming the wave peaks quickly, Q1 should be back on track soon.

“I think some categories might be impacted quite dynamically at the moment,” said Walton. “A lot of trouble travel brands who may be thinking of hitting the ground running in early 2022, might have just put those plans on hold for a few months to see what happens.”

“Supermarkets is an interesting one. If you haven’t got any fresh produce, you might not be wanting to advertise and promote yourself as the fresh food people, for example.”

SMI figures for November 2021

Walton also suspects a lot of retailers were disappointed by foot traffic in the traditionally busy post-Christmas sales, with Black Friday increasingly becoming “a bigger and bigger event each year”.

“Is it now at the expense of the post-Christmas sales people bringing forward their spending and is this kind of inexorably changing retail habits, or have they been affected more than they would be because of COVID?” Walton asked, while suggesting “there’s probably a bit of both going on there”.

“I don’t think there’ll be much of an impact this year on ad spend.”

“But if we get people back from holiday, schools back, or even worse, not going back as planned, and this current situation kind of keeps evolving into February, then you might see more of a negative impact on spend levels going forward.”


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