More Than Half of Global Ad Spend Forecast to Be Spent on Digital Media This Year

September 1, 2020

Zenith Traditional Media Ad Spend Forecast Sep2020Digital advertising is expected to account for more than half (51%) of total global ad spend for the first time this year, amid a forecast decline in global advertising investment of 9.1%. A new forecast [press release] from Zenith Media shows that, while this decreased expenditure in advertising is reminiscent of the loss during the 2009 recession (-9.5%), spending is also expected to recover somewhat by next year.

Although Zenith’s forecast is even more discouraging than revised estimates from WARC, both place the onus of the loss on the COVID-19 pandemic and point to the negative impact it’s had on traditional advertising. Zenith estimates that, across the board, traditional media ad spend will experience losses.

Cinema is expected to be hit the hardest, with an estimated loss in ad spend of 51% this year. Another form of traditional media that is expected to see significant loss is out-of-home (-25%), an area where the majority of global marketers had originally thought their budgets would either increase (31%) or stay the same (50%) this year.

Ad spend on newspapers (-21%) and magazines (-20%) continues to decrease, while radio (-12%) and TV (-11%) are forecast to be the least affected of the traditional media types, despite their forecast double-digit declines.

Recovery in 2021

On the bright side, Zenith forecasts that global ad spend will recover by 5.8% next year, fueled by the Summer Olympics and UEFA Euro 2020 football championships, both of which were rescheduled to 2021. Although TV and radio are only expected to see slight growth next year (2% and 1%, respectively), out-of-home (16%) and cinema (65%) ad spend are expected to see notable rebounds next year.

In the meantime, Zenith estimates that the growth in digital advertising will continue on its upwards trend, predicting that by 2022 digital media will account for 55% of the total ad market.

About the Data: Findings are based on Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts.


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