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Despite Digital Growth, Total Ad Spending Slows in China, APAC

Total media ad spend will be ostensibly flat this year

Robust growth in China, where overall digital ad spending levels are already the highest in the region, will help propel Asia-Pacific to $33.30 billion in digital ad spending this year, new eMarketer estimates suggest, despite slowdowns in total ad spending growth in the region.

China, excluding Hong Kong, will account for nearly four in 10 digital ad dollars spent in the region this year, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. Digital spending levels in China will continue to grow at double-digit rates through 2016, though growth will be faster in India and Indonesia, which are significantly smaller markets accounting for just 1.9% and 0.7% of the total, respectively, in 2013.

Digital spending in Japan is expected to be down this year in real terms, due to currency devaluations for the yen. Nominal spending will increase, though, and even in real terms digital spend in Japan will be up again by 2014, eMarketer expects.

Total media ad spending in Asia-Pacific is growing more slowly, at an almost-flat 0.6% this year, compared with 8.9% growth forecast for digital ad spending.

Total ad spending in China, in particular, is increasing slower than expected. eMarketer estimates total ad spending in China across all channels will grow 8.1% to $45.03 billion this year. That is significantly lower than eMarketer’s previous April 2013 estimate of 12% growth to $48.81 billion. The revision downward comes after several firms—all of which are included in eMarketer’s forecasting model—have lowered expectations for ad spending and economic growth in the region.

China is the biggest recipient of total media ad dollars in the region, with Japan again coming in second—and again suffering a decline in real spending due to currency volatility.

Unlike with digital ad spending, rapid growth in Indonesia will be enough to push that country ahead to a significantly greater share of the total pie, increasing from 6.4% this year—tied with South Korea—to 9.7% in 2017, ahead of both South Korea and Australia. Australia is currently the third-biggest total media ad market in the region.

eMarketer bases its estimates of total media and digital ad spending in Asia-Pacific on the analysis of various elements related to the ad spending market, including macro-level economic conditions, historical trends of the advertising market, estimates from other research firms, and consumer internet usage trends.


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