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China Emerges as Global Ad Spending Juggernaut

New eMarketer forecast highlights Asia’s growing advertising footprint

NEW YORK, NY (August 1, 2012)—China is not just the largest country in the world by population, but also an ad spending juggernaut that is helping Asia-Pacific achieve milestone after milestone in both total media and online ad spending, according to a new global advertising forecast by eMarketer.

Next year, eMarketer predicts, ad spending in China will reach nearly $53 billion, surpassing total spending in Japan for the first time, to make China the No. 2 country in the world in terms of ad spending. The US will remain far ahead, with more than three times as many ad dollars, but rising spending in China will narrow that gap in coming years.

Key takeways from eMarketer’s new global ad spending forecast:

  • China is set to become the world’s second-largest advertising market in 2013, and the second-largest digital advertising market the following year, behind the US.
  • The strength of ad spending in Asia-Pacific, combined with the Olympics, will help buoy total ad spending growth to 7.4% in 2012, despite economic concerns in Europe.
  • Digital advertising, as expected, will take a record 20% share of total ad spending this year.

According to the new forecast, one in five ad dollars spent globally now go to internet advertising. eMarketer estimates online ad spend worldwide will reach $107.33 billion in 2012, up from $88.47 billion last year.

Despite continued economic uncertainty in Europe, total ad spending will reach an estimated $542.27 billion worldwide this year as strong spending in China, India, Japan and the US propel growth to 7.4%.

The Olympics will help bump up ad spending in 2012, and growth will slow slightly next year to 6.4%. Latin America and Asia-Pacific will be the fastest-growing regions throughout the forecast period, with spending growing at about double the worldwide rate. Eastern Europe will also see higher-than-average growth.

China is also quickly growing the online portion of its ad spending, which is set to reach $7.36 billion this year. Rapid growth in China will help push Asia-Pacific past Western Europe to become the No. 2 region in the world for online ad spending in 2013. In 2014, this growth will make China the second-largest online ad market in the world, as it surpasses the UK and remains behind only the US.

Overall, online ad spending worldwide will grow 21.3% this year, slightly faster than last year’s rate of 21.1%, with growth slowing to 10.4% by 2016. The Middle East and Africa has the highest regional growth rate throughout the forecast period, but from an extremely small base—spending will not reach $3 billion by 2016. Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific will post above-average growth through 2016, while growth in North America and Western Europe will remain robust but more moderate.

eMarketer forms its estimates for total media and online ad spending worldwide through a meta-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.

eMarketer benchmarks its online ad spending projections for France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia against the IAB Europe/IHS Screen Digest data for which the last full year measured was 2010.

eMarketer benchmarks its UK online ad spending projections against the IAB UK/PwC/Warc data for which the last full year measured was 2011. eMarketer benchmarks its Mexico online ad spending projections against the IAB México/PwC data for which the last full year measured was 2010.

eMarketer benchmarks its Australia online ad spending projections against the IAB Australia data for which the last full year measured was 2010. eMarketer benchmarks its Canada online ad spending projections against the IAB Canada data for which the last full year measured was 2010. eMarketer benchmarks its US online ad spending projections against the IAB/PwC data, for which the last full year measured was 2010.

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Clark Fredricksen
Vice President, Communications, eMarketer
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Posted on August 1, 2012.