Industries’ Ad Spending: What’s the Forecast?

September 14, 2022

Various industries diverged greatly in their ad spending changes during the pandemic’s onset, but things have returned to more parity this year, according to a recent forecast from eMarketer. All told, US digital ad spending is expected to grow by 17.8% this year, with Retail and Travel setting the pace.

This year’s predicted digital ad spending growth rate of 17.8% is less than half of what was witnessed last year (38.3%), though a deceleration could be expected given that last year’s growth rate was the fastest in 15 years.

Leading the pack in forecast digital ad spend growth this year will be Retail, with a 23.5% rise. It will be closely followed by a resurgent Travel industry (+22.5%) and Telecom (20.8%) as the only three to exceed a 20% predicted growth rate.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Auto industry is expected to have the slowest rate of digital ad spending growth this year, of 10.8%. Though that’s less than half of Retail’s leading rate, the ~13% point difference is far closer to the pre-pandemic differences between leader and laggard, notes eMarketer, with the gap in 2020 a massive 80+ percentage points. Even last year’s delta between fastest- and slowest-growing industries was hefty, at almost 30% points.

Global Spending Trends, by Product Category

Looking further out to 2023 and expanding to advertising overall (not just digital) and to a global basis, a new forecast from WARC calls for a different set of ad spending leaders, but with a familiar laggard.

Per Warc’s prediction, the Tech & Electronics product category will up its ad spend the most next year, by 11.5%. That would follow a projected growth rate of 25% this year for the sector.

None of the other 17 product categories monitored in the WARC analysis are expected to expand their ad spending at a double-digit rate next year. Following Tech & Electronics are Pharma & Healthcare (+7.5% following 11% growth this year, with OTC ad spend shifting to digital), Tobacco (+7.5%) and Non-Profit, Public Sector & Education (+7.1%).

Only a few of the product categories analyzed are forecast to cut spend. The Automotive category is predicted to have the biggest cut, of 12.4%. In fact, the Automotive category is the only one of the 18 examined that is predicted to not increase its ad spending this year.

For more, check out eMarketer’s forecast here and WARC’s here.


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