Nielsen's study focused on 14 countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Germany, that together represent about half of the world's total advertising spending.
In 2001, spending in these 14 markets combined fell by 5%. However, the overall decline masked the robust growth that many emerging markets saw in 2001: a collective 15% in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.
China has emerged as a major global force in advertising. Ad spending grew more than 15% in 2001, topping $11 billion.
Nielsen said there are some early signs that the U.S. may be coming out of its ad recession, with first-quarter ad sales up 1.8%. However, the outlook for the rest of the year is mixed, with some media, such as network TV, expected to show growth, but others, such as magazines, forecast to remain down.
Nielsen still predicts 2% growth in the U.S. for 2002. According to data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus, advertising spending in the U.S. dropped 7% last year, with all media affected by the downturn.