Ad spending rose 3% in December from a year earlier, while ad pages fell 2%.
Ad pages declined 15% for the year.
Eight of the 12 categories showed improvement in ad spending in December. The travel sector led the way, with a 37% jump in ad dollars, followed by drugs and toiletries, up 30%%. Computers, in a turnaround from the last few years, rose 20% while automotive was up 18%.
Yet several ad categories crucial to b-to-b growth were still down in December, including telecommunications, down 23%; manufacturing and electrical equipment, materials and components, down 13%; finance, business and advertising, down 12%, and retail, down 5%.
Gordon Hughes, president-CEO of ABM, said b-to-b ad spending in 2003 depends on whether the U.S. goes to war with Iraq. âIf the United States avoids war, we are predicting a 3% growth in ad revenues in the first quarter of 2003, and the December numbers support that projection,â he said âIf war occurs, we project a delay in increased b-to-b activity until the second half of 2003.â