The extent of the damage done to the U.S. media economy during the pandemic-induced downturn is coming into sharp relief with the release of new data from market research giant Kantar.
Media spending in the first half of 2020 was down 19.1 percent, compared to the same period in 2019, according to the latest Kantar media-spending data shared exclusively with Ad Age.
Most of the damage, as expected, was done in Q2, with April down 34.1 percent, May down 31.6 percent and June down 30.2 percent. In aggregate, second-quarter 2020 spending dropped to $27.8 billion, a 32.0 percent falloff from $40.9 billion in 2019.
Unsurprisingly, categories down more than 50 percent in the half included airlines, hotels and other travel, for which first-half spending in 2019 was just over $4.1 billion combined. At the end of the first half of 2020, spending had topped out at $1.9 billion.
Amid the mess brought on by COVID-19, one marketer category stood out as a bright spot: household supplies and cleaners. With so many folks working from home, and presumably wanting a clean home in which to work—not to mention stocking up on disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers—advertising increased 12.3 percent in the half. Paper products, initially in short supply, got a boost, too. All except for bathroom tissue advertising, which dropped 19.3 percent for the half.
The first half’s No. 1 advertiser, Procter & Gamble, gained, rising 9.2 percent, as did No. 2 Amazon, up 14.8 percent.
There was of course no major election cycle in 2019; so the year-over-year data is obviously skewed, but the Kantar’s “government, politics and religion” category increased 47 percent.