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Spain’s mobile marketplace is continuing to develop at a rapid pace, according to a recent report from the country’s Mobile Marketing Association (MMA Spain), based on a survey conducted by Accenture in January and February 2014.
The study found that expenditure on all forms of mobile marketing reached €110.5 million ($147.3 million) last year—an annual increase of 19.9%. This was less than half the percentage gain (44.9%) between 2011 and 2012. But the predictable decline in these double-digit growth rates confirms the gradual maturation of the market.
These results are all the more remarkable considering that Spain is still in the grip of a severe economic squeeze. Many advertisers have been trimming their outlays; eMarketer estimates spending on all measured media dropped from $6.79 billion in 2012 to $6.25 billion last year, and we expect it to hit just $6.34 billion this year. Yet 2014 should be another strong year for mobile marketing growth, with expenditure up a further 17.2% to €129.3 million ($172.4 million), MMA Spain and Accenture predicted.
It should be noted that these figures are much higher than most estimates of mobile ad spending in Spain. For example, the country’s Interactive Advertising Bureau and Grupo Consultores recently calculated that spending on mobile ads languished just below €40 million ($53.3 million) in 2013. But the MMA Spain/Accenture study goes beyond ad spending per se, to include all forms of mobile marketing. It also includes spending on “behind-the-scenes” aspects such as technology and development, as well as production costs. Arguably, this gives a more comprehensive picture of the mobile marketing situation in Spain than the smaller numbers for mobile advertising.
Even with budgets moving their way, Spain’s mobile marketers face a tough challenge. As in other relatively advanced mobile cultures, such as the UK and US, advertisers are finding it hard to keep pace with the evolving habits of the millions of residents who have taken to mobile devices and now use them in virtually every area of their lives. eMarketer estimates that 22.3 million people in Spain will use a smartphone this year—and the number will reach 26.0 million in 2015, or nearly 54% of the population.
While these consumers can adapt to using a smartphone or tablet in a day, it takes months for brand marketers to grasp the implications of widespread mobile usage and to begin incorporating mobile platforms in their strategic thinking and budget plans. There’s no doubt that these changes are taking place, though, judging by the figures from MMA Spain and Accenture.
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