×

Once registered, you can:

  • - Read additional free articles each month
  • - Comment on articles and featured creative work
  • - Get our curated newsletters delivered to your inbox

By registering you agree to our privacy policy, terms & conditions and to receive occasional emails from Ad Age. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Are you a print subscriber? Activate your account.

World's Largest Advertisers: Spending is Growing (and Surging in China)

By Published on .

The World's 100 Largest Advertisers increased ad spending 3.4 percent to $267 billion in 2016. But if you want to see the real growth, check out China, which boasts four of the world's biggest marketers.

Advertising and promotional spending by Alibaba, China's biggest online retailer, rocketed 50 percent to $1.3 billion, the fastest growth in the top 100. Spending at internet power Tencent surged 48 percent to $1.4 billion, good for the second-highest growth. SAIC Motor, China's largest domestic auto group, increased ad spending a more modest 4 percent, to $1.6 billion. Yili Group, the country's largest dairy marketer, trimmed its outlay, but the quartet's overall spending grew 20 percent anyway.

Most of the four firms' global spending was in China, the world's second-largest ad market. Ad spending there grew 8.7 percent in 2016 and is set to rise 7.4 percent this year, to $80.5 billion, according to a new forecast by Publicis Groupe's Zenith.

Amazon ranks No. 11 among global advertisers with spending of $5 billion, ahead of such marketers as Ford Motor, Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

The ranking includes 10 such internet-age companies—Tencent, Alibaba and Rakuten also among them—that last year collectively boosted ad spending by 25.8 percent. Spending for the remaining 90 edged up 1.7 percent. Sixty-five of the 100 showed increases. (Not surprisingly, internet-centric marketers dominate Ad Age's separate tally of the world's fastest-growing ad spenders.)

The World's Largest Advertisers ranking is based on Ad Age Datacenter estimates and company disclosures. It captures total ad spending, an all-in assessment including everything from TV and in-store advertising to social media and mobile.

Still No. 1

Procter & Gamble kept the top spot by spending an estimated $10.5 billion on advertising and other marketing activities. South Korea's Samsung Electronics took second with $9.9 billion in 2016 spending. Swiss food marketer Nestlé came in No. 3 with $9.2 billion in estimated "consumer facing" marketing spending. Ad Age revised spending models for this report to incorporate Samsung's massive promotion budget and a broader definition of Nestlé consumer marketing spending.

Auto was the biggest category among the World's Largest Advertisers, with 17 marketers spending $51 billion. Personal care and household products was close behind with 13 marketers spending $48 billion.

The top 100 includes 46 based in North America (45 in the U.S. plus the telecom firm América Móvil in Mexico), 31 in Europe and 23 in Asia.

World's Largest Advertisers complements Ad Age's Leading National Advertisers report; 80 of the 200 biggest U.S. spenders made the ranking of the top 100 global spenders.

Eleven of the World's Largest Advertisers had no significant U.S. measured-media spending in 2016: automakers PSA Group and Renault (France) and SAIC (China); retailers Aeon (Japan), Alibaba (China), Carrefour (France) and Rewe Group (Germany); telecoms Telefónica (Spain) and Vodafone Group (U.K.); and China's Tencent and Yili.

World's Five Largest Advertisers
By 2016 total worldwide advertising spending.
Rank Marketer Headquarters Category 2016 total worldwide advertising spending
1 Procter & Gamble Co. U.S. Personal care $10.5B
2 Samsung Electronics Co. South Korea Technology 9.9B
3 Nestlé Switzerland Food and beverages 9.2B
4 Unilever U.K./Netherlands Personal care 8.6B
5 L'Oréal France Personal care 8.3B
World's Largest Advertisers: Top five $46.4B
World's Largest Advertisers: Top 100 $267.3B
Source: Ad Age Datacenter. Total worldwide advertising spending from Ad Age Datacenter estimates and company financial filings. Numbers rounded. Full report including ranking of top 100, profiles and expanded footnotes: AdAge.com/globalmarketers2017.
1. Procter & Gamble: Year ended June 2017. Estimated spending on advertising plus other marketing costs.
2. Samsung: Ad Age revised spending model to capture advertising and sales promotion. Ad Age previously excluded sales promotion from its calculation of Samsung worldwide spending.
3. Nestlé: Ad Age revised spending model to capture estimated "consumer facing" marketing expenses. Ad Age previously ranked Nestlé using a model based on a narrower definition of ad spending.
Fastest-growing spenders
The five fastest-growing ad spenders among the World's 100 Largest Advertisers are internet-centric plays, led by China's Alibaba.
Rank Marketer Headquarters Category 2016 total worldwide advertising spending % change vs. 2015
1 Alibaba Group Holding China Retail $1.3B 50%
2 Tencent Holdings China Entertainment and media 1.4B 48
3 Rakuten Japan Retail 1.1B 34
4 Amazon U.S. Retail 5.0B 32
5 Expedia U.S. Travel 2.7B 29
Source: Ad Age Datacenter. Total worldwide advertising spending based on Ad Age estimates and company disclosures. Numbers rounded.
World's Largest Advertisers by category
Seventeen of the World's 100 Largest Advertisers are in automotive—16 automakers and tire maker Bridgestone—with 2016 total worldwide ad spending of $51 billion. Spending by personal care and household products marketers was close behind at $48 billion.
Category Number of marketers 2016 total worldwide advertising spending Share of top 100's spending
Automotive 17 $50.8B 19.0%
Personal care and household products 13 48.2B 18.0
Entertainment and media 10 25.5B 9.5
Retail 14 23.9B 8.9
Food and beverages 7 23.2B 8.7
Technology 6 17.8B 6.7
Telecommunications 7 15.1B 5.7
Beer, wine and liquor 6 14.8B 5.5
Financial services 6 13.6B 5.1
Apparel 4 11.6B 4.3
Pharmaceuticals 6 10.6B 4.0
Travel 2 6.5B 2.4
Restaurants 2 5.6B 2.1
World's Largest Advertisers: Top 100 100 $267.3B 100.0%
For marketers that operate in multiple categories, Ad Age assigned marketer to its most-advertised category. Ad Age combined personal care and household products categories.
World's Largest Advertisers by region
Asia is home to 23 of the world's 100 biggest advertisers. Those Asian marketers in 2016 spent $49 billion on worldwide advertising and accounted for 18% of the top 100's worldwide spending.
Headquarters Number of marketers 2016 total worldwide advertising spending Share of top 100's spending
North America 46 $124.0B 46.4%
Europe 31 94.6B 35.4
Asia 23 48.8B 18.2
World's Largest Advertisers: Top 100 100 $267.3B 100.0%
Source: Ad Age Datacenter. Total worldwide advertising spending based on Ad Age estimates and company disclosures. Numbers rounded.

About World's Largest Advertisers 2017

31st annual global report, produced by Ad Age Datacenter.

Methodology: Spending for World's Largest Advertisers from Ad Age Datacenter estimates and company disclosures. Figures capture total worldwide advertising spending, an all-in assessment that includes everything from TV and in-store advertising to social media and mobile. Ad Age translated currencies to U.S. dollars at average exchange rates.

Measured media for top advertisers by country from media tracking services; links to tracking services available at AdAge.com/globalmarketers2017.

© Copyright 2017 Crain Communications Inc. The data and information presented is the property of Crain and others and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. For personal, noncommercial use only, which must be in accordance with Ad Age's Terms and Conditions at AdAge.com/terms. Archiving, reproduction, re-distribution or other uses are prohibited. For licensing arrangements, please contact lpicariello@crain.com.

Most Popular