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Oct 28, 2021
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UK set to see Christmas ads bonanza this year

Published
Oct 28, 2021

Christmas is going to be big this year, if the expected growth in the number of festive ads is anything to go by. Advertisers are expected to spend almost £1 billion more than a year ago after last season’s Covid-hit Christmas flop.


John Lewis's low-key 2020 Christmas TV ad


Some retailers have already started their Christmas campaigns with Very most notably launching a humorous campaign that encourages consumers to laugh about people becoming Christmas-obsessed before Halloween has even happened.

Spend on television ads is forecast to increase by 9% to £1.56 billion – the fastest annual rate of growth in TV advertising spend since 2010.

But after the major shift to buying online seen since the start of  the pandemic, this season is expected to once again be a “digital marketing Christmas”, with spend on search advertising forecast to increase by 15% to £2.7 billion. Meanwhile, online display advertising is expected to rise by 12.7% to £2.4 billion. Search and online display will account for 65% of all ad spend in the Christmas quarter, the report noted.

Cinemas and the out-of-home advertising sector will experience the biggest proportional bounceback after being the hardest hit during the lockdown last year. Cinema advertising is forecast to grow by 3,160% year on year in the final quarter, unsurprising given the shutdown and slow return of cinemas since the pandemic.

The out-of-home market, which practically ground to halt with almost no commuters or domestic travel last year, is expected to grow by well over 50% year-on-year.

Spend on online ads on national and regional publishers’ websites is forecast to rise by 3.8% and 18% respectively, more than recovering the declines seen in those areas last year.

“The latest data demonstrate bullish trade in the UK’s advertising sector despite potential inflationary headwinds and supply chain disruption in the run-up to Christmas,” said James McDonald, the head of data content at Warc.

“Strong fourth-quarter projections for TV – a medium heavily leveraged by retailers during the golden quarter – and search, which encompasses activity on e-commerce platforms, suggest it will be largely business as usual for the industry this year.”

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