Carat revises global ad spend forecast but 2012 still “robust”

Media agency network Carat has revised down its prediction for global advertising spend growth for both this year and 2012, with Western Europe seeing the biggest downward shift.

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Carat’s March forecast of 5.7% growth for this year is now cut to 5%.

While it still foresees “robust growth” in ad spend for 2012, the year of the London Olympics and US presidential elections, it has reduced its March forecast for next year slightly to 6%.

The revisions echo the cautious words of Sir Martin Sorrell, chief of WPP Group, which posted strong results this week.

He said that there were “serious challenges” to face and added “… there are storm clouds and we still have to see how the latest stock market crisis affects consumer and client thinking and actions.”

By region, Carat is revising its North America forecast to 3.1% (from 3.9%) for this year and to 5.5% (5.9%) for 2012. Western Europe is cut to 2.3% (from 3.5%) for 2011 and to 3% (3.3%) for 2012.

It has revised upwards its prediction for ad spend for Central and Eastern Europe, up to 10.1% from 9.5%, for 2011.

By sector, the group scales back the growth of global TV ad spend to 6% (6.7%) this year and to 6.2% (5%) for 2012. Magazines are expected to go into negative growth, revised down to -0.4% from 0.3%, this year but the sector is expected to bounce back next year and grow more then originally forecast, rising 2.3% (2%).

While digital ad spend is predicted by far to see the biggest growth, this is still revised back to 13.3% (13.6%) for this year.

Carat’s parent group, Aegis, has just posted half year results with organic growth of 7.3%, compared to 3.2% year on year, with pre-tax profit of £58.9m.

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