Total UK advertising expenditure fell by 3.9% in 2008 but plummeted 9.6% in the fourth quarter.
Newspapers have seen the biggest drop in ad spend, down 12% on 2007, continuing a trend that saw ad spend drop 0.3% in the previous year. By contrast, cinema has shown itself to be the most robust “traditional” medium, with a drop of 0.9% compared with a rise of 9.8% in 2007.
The figures come from the latest research compiled by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) on behalf of the Advertising Association.
Television saw a reversal of gains made in 2007. Ad spend on the medium fell 4.9% last year compared to a rise of 2.8% in 2007.
Radio and outdoor also saw gains in the previous year wiped out, with radio witnessing an 8.5% fall in ad spend compared with 3.4% growth in 2007; outdoor fell 3.8% compared with a 4.6% rise in 2007.
Direct mail slightly arrested its decline, dropping 6% compared with a 6.5% fall in 2007.
As expected, internet ad spend continued to grow but its rate of growth has more than halved. It grew 39.5% in 2007 and 17.3% last year.
The figures are in line with the sharp decline in consumer spending witnessed at the end of last year. In December the British Retail Consortium reported retail sales had dropped for the second consecutive month and like-for-like sales had dropped for six consecutive months.