Dentsu’s Ad Spend Report forecasts 5.9% growth in Australia in 2021

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  • Global advertising spend is expected to grow 5.8% in 2021 as the industry begins to recoup the 8.8% fall in 2020 brought about by the impact of COVID-19.
  • Australia is anticipated to see a 5.9% growth in 2021, and a 6.2% growth in 2022.
  • Digital is expected to account for half of all expenditure for the first time, reflecting the digital acceleration seen during the pandemic.

28 January 2021:  Global advertising investment is forecast to grow by 5.8% globally and 5.9% in Australia in 2021, according to the dentsu 2021 Ad Spend Report.


The report combines data from 59 markets and anticipates that $579bn will be spent globally with all regions enjoying growth to offset a fall of 8.8% in 2020. Australia’s forecasted growth is marginally lower than other markets such as India (10.8%), the United Kingdom (10.4%) and France (8.9%).

The report forecasts digital will account for half of all spend for the first time, with Social (18.3%), Search (11.0%) and Video (10.8%) expected to benefit the most. TV is expected to drive a 1.7% increase globally to $169bn, which accounts for a third of all ad spend globally, driven largely by the return of large global sporting events as clients look to capitalise on the audiences they draw.

Michael Bass, dentsu ANZ’s Media Chief Investment Officer, commented: “2020 shaped how we navigate and respond to global events from an advertising and media investment perspective, in the best interests of our clients.

“While panic began to unfold in March and clients pulled spend, confidence has since returned with people becoming more adaptable to the changing landscape. Rather than pulling spend, clients now simply shift their investment to other channels, or adjust their messaging. This will undoubtedly continue in 2021.

“The Australian market has seen quite a resurgence in ad spend from Q4 last year and those who invested will have momentum with an established brand presence in market. The opportunities that existed for brands to grow during difficult times last year are still here now, and if 2020 showed us anything, it’s better to spend than pull back,” said Bass.

Industry sectors that have been impacted the hardest by COVID-19 will also see growth globally. Based on analysis in eight markets, the Travel & Transport (28.4%), Media & Entertainment (14.5%) and Automotive (13.8%) sectors will begin to see momentum.

Despite the positive signs of momentum in 2021, a return to pre-pandemic levels of advertising spend is unlikely until 2022, when spending is likely to reach US$619bn and grow at a rate of 6.9%.

“We’ll naturally see strong growth in Q2 this year but for Australia to see total industry growth, we really need all categories to fire. Momentum will continue to build in categories such as retail, food, and gaming, however the big spenders – travel, tourism aggregators, entertainment – haven’t bounced back yet in our market. Until these categories start to spend again, it’s unlikely we’ll see the market return to pre-2019 levels,” said Bass.

A full copy of the dentsu 2021 Ad Spend Report can be found here.


For further information contact:

Lucy Povlsen
Head of Communications | +61 411 251 933

About dentsu international
As part of dentsu International, dentsu Australia is made up of leadership brands including Carat, dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, Merkle, MKTG, BWM dentsu Group, Davanti, Accordant, Scorch and SMG Studios. Dentsu International helps clients to win, keep and grow their best customers and achieve meaningful progress for their businesses. With best-in-class services and solutions in media, CRM, and creative, dentsu International operates in over 145 markets worldwide with more than 66,000 dedicated specialists.