Global ad revenue predicted to pass $1trn for first time in 2025

Global ad revenue is expected to grow by 7.8% in 2024, while UK ad revenue is predicted to increase by 4.9%.

Global advertising revenue is expected to increase by 6.8% next year, meaning it is on track to hit $1.1trn (£864.4bn) in 2025, a year ahead of earlier forecasts, according to GroupM’s latest This Year Next Year report.

The business predicts global ad revenue will grow 7.8% to $989.8bn (£778.7bn) this year, an uptick from the 5.3% growth predicted in December.

Despite ongoing inflation in many markets, consumer spending has remained resilient, while AI has driven business investment throughout the first half of the year.

“I think a lot of people have been surprised by how well consumer spending has kept up and how well business investment has kept up,” Kate Scott-Dawkins, author of the report, tells Marketing Week.

The increases in the total revenue are largely due to revised forecasts for China, which GroupM now estimates will reach $199.4bn (£156.87bn) in 2024 versus the $148.2bn (£116.59bn) estimate from December. Scott-Dawkins highlights that “big growth” in digital and OOH has fueled these revised estimates.

UK global ad revenue

In the UK, ad revenue is forecast to grow by 4.9%, reaching $47.8bn (£37.4bn), revised from 4.6% in December.

The UK remains Europe’s largest advertising market, although advertising growth is expected to be slower than Europe’s overall growth.

This year, UK digital advertising revenue is set to make up 79.2% of the total, with a 5.7% growth to $37.9bn (£29.82bn). On a global scale, digital advertising is projected to comprise 70.6% of total revenue, amounting to $699bn (£549bn).

In 2023, the five biggest players in the digital advertising space – Google, Meta, ByteDance, Amazon, and Alibaba – captured 77.7% of the market, up from 65.0% in 2016.

Comparatively, WARC Media’s latest Global Advertising Trends report predicts that social media advertising will hit $247.3bn (£198.1bn) in 2024, a 14.3% increase year on year. Meta alone is on course to surpass linear TV in global ad revenue by 2025.

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Within digital pure-play (excluding the digital extensions of TV, audio, print and out of home), retail media is the fastest-growing channel in the UK. It is expected to increase 12.7% in 2024 and reach $4.1bn (£3.23bn) in advertising revenue. By 2028, it is expected to exceed TV ad revenue.

Scott-Dawkins highlights that the growth is fueled by retailers’ “inventive” use of data.

“Part of it has been the decoupling of retail data from retail inventory,” she says. “It’s not all just on-site anymore – there’s more and more happening off-site via extensions.”

GroupM estimates UK ecommerce sales (including auto, fuel, catering, and food-delivery services) will grow by 6.3% to $202.7bn (£159.46bn) in 2024 and account for 17.6% of total retail sales. By 2029, this share will reach 21.6%.

Outside of digital, CTV is expected to be the fastest-growing channel, increasing by 19.2% and accounting for 24.9% of total TV advertising revenue in the UK. In the US, total TV ad revenue will decline 0.6% in 2024 to $ (£50bn), with CTV representing 30.2% of that. By 2029, CTV is expected to account for 51.5% of all TV ad revenue.

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This growth is driven by several key players consolidating their streaming operations for greater simplicity.

For example, ITVX has consolidated BritBox and the launch of Freely will combine live and on-demand content from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

While competition is increasing within the CTV space, particularly with the launch of ads on Amazon Prime and Netflix, GroupM expects these newer players to be small in terms of ad revenue.

“When you’re growing off a really small base, those high growth numbers are easier to hit,” Scott-Dawkins cautions.

For non-digital channels, she says there’s an opportunity for advertisers to leverage audio and OOH to provide reach.

“With reach on linear TV starting to erode, there’s an opportunity for things like audio and OOH that can provide reach, and arguably at sometimes a more effective cost than digital platforms,” she says.

In the UK, OOH revenue almost matched 2019 advertising revenue at the end of 2023 and will surpass 2019 levels in 2024. Audio is expected to decline by 1.1% in 2024, while digital audio is expected to grow by 7.8%, but it will not be able to offset the 4.1% decline in traditional audio.