AdEx: Digital ad spend in Europe grows by 30% in 2021

Posted on: Wednesday 29 June 2022 | IAB UK

IAB Europe’s AdEx Benchmark Report reveals that the UK market recorded the strongest growth per capita, followed by Norway

IAB Europe has released its AdEx Benchmark report, detailing digital advertising spend across Europe in 2021. The report shows that the overall annual growth of digital ad spend for the 28 European nations involved was 30.5%, leading to a total market value of €92bn in 2021. This increase is the highest recorded growth rate since 2008 and has surpassed IAB Europe’s forecast growth rate of 28.6% for 2021. Every market in the study experienced double digit growth, and seven outstripped the average growth.

The report also reveals that the UK market recorded the strongest growth per capita (€481), followed by Norway (€330 per capita), against an average of €115 per capita across the markets analysed. 

Digital audio is the fastest growing format, increasing by 50.7% in 2021 as the audio market continues to flourish. Other formats fuelling growth include video and programmatic spend. Video maintained significant growth both in and out of social spend, growing by 46.2%. Video spend now exceeds half of total display spend in the UK, as well as in Italy and Ukraine. Meanwhile programmatic, excluding social, accounts for 57% of display ad spend.

IAB Europe’s Chief Economist, Dr Daniel Knapp, commented: “All parts of digital advertising benefited from the 2021 bonanza, but most notably those formats and approaches that enable small and medium sized businesses, e-commerce related advertising, video-based storytelling and formats that provide access to new consumer behaviour at scale, such as audio and gaming.

“Although market growth in 2021 was tightly clustered in the mid-20s for most countries, European digital ad markets are heterogeneous with a wide range of ad spend per capita allocations even in markets of similar economic power. This signals that significant headroom for growth remains available.”

You can view a further breakdown of growth by format and the AdEx Benchmark 2021 Report in full here.

Written by



Related content

IAB Europe on Belgian Market Court referring TCF ruling to European Court of Justice

Read IAB Europe's statement on the latest developments regarding the Belgian Market Court's referral ruling on the TCF

Learn more
Person using remote control on a connected television

CTV: Key definitions for the industry

Working in partnership with our connected TV (CTV) members and IAB Europe, we’ve developed a set of shared definitions for the CTV sector

Learn more

92% of buyers prioritise responsible suppliers

A new IAB Europe survey has found that 92% of buyers prefer to spend their advertising budget with suppliers that adhere to industry standards, such as...

Learn more

IAB Europe submits action plan in APD case

IAB Europe has submitted the action plan required by the Belgian Data Protection Authority’s (APD) decision on IAB Europe and the Transparency & Consent...

Learn more

Why digital advertising works

Discover why digital advertising is effective for reaching your customers and building brands.