With Europe in recession and the U.S. facing a fiscal cliffhanger, ad forecasters this month trimmed their global-spending forecasts. But amid the uncertainty, there are bright spots and emerging opportunities. Here are 10 things to keep in mind about the global ad market.
1. Advertising is a $500 billion market. WPP's Group M figures worldwide ad spending topped the half-trillion mark in 2012. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Magna Global and Publicis Groupe 's ZenithOptimedia expect advertising to pass that milestone in 2013.
2. Consensus ad growth is 3.9% in 2012 -- and 2013. The average of this month's revised forecasts from Group M, Magna and ZenithOptimedia suggests the worldwide advertising market will grow 3.9% in both years.
3. Worldwide ad spending is at an all-time high. Spending in 2011 moved above the peak hit before the 2008-2009 global economic meltdown, according to ZenithOptimedia. Magna expects advertising to set new records each year through at least 2017 (as far as its December forecast extends).
4. Regional spending is a mixed picture. Advertising in Asia/Pacific and Latin America has rocketed past pre-recession levels, reflecting growth in emerging markets. ZenithOptimedia does not expect U.S. spending to pass its 2007 peak until 2015. Spending in Western Europe could see a meager gain in 2013, but it's to be determined when spending will top its 2007 peak.
5. Emerging markets are set to pass the U.S. The world's emerging markets in 2014 will account for one-third of ad spending, surpassing the U.S. share of advertising, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis of ZenithOptimedia forecasts. The media agency says developing markets will account for 61% of global ad spending growth between 2012 and 2015.
6. A giant BRIC. Brazil, Russia, India and China account for nearly half of emerging-market ad spending. By 2017, Magna expects the BRIC bloc to comprise four of the world's 10 largest ad markets, with China No. 2 behind the U.S.
7. Digital captures one in five ad dollars. The internet in 2013 will pass newspapers to become the second-largest global ad medium, behind television, according to ZenithOptimedia. It says internet media will get 19.8% of the 2013 spending pie and expects internet advertising to account for 59% of growth in worldwide ad spending between 2012 and 2015.
8. TV's share of global advertising peaked in 2012. TV's portion of global ad spending this year reached its peak, according to Group M (43%) and ZenithOptimedia (40.2%). ZenithOptimedia expects TV's share to hold steady at about 40% through 2015. Even with a flat share, TV is likely to score solid gains in revenue because the overall ad market is growing.
9. Number of billion-dollar advertisers: 46. That's how many companies had 2011 worldwide measured-media spending above $1 billion, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis. The group includes 43 Global 100 multinational, multi-region advertisers; and three big marketers (AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, Verizon Communications) that don't appear in the global ranking because their measured spending is virtually all in a single region (U.S.).
10. Personal care cleans up. It's the world's biggest advertising category, followed by automotive and food, and makes up one-fourth of 2011's Global 100 spending. The three biggest global advertisers have the world in a lather: Procter & Gamble Co., Unilever and L'Oréal.