Zenith: UK ad spend to grow 13.5% in 2021, fuelled by digital ad market

Posted on: Monday 26 July 2021 | IAB UK

On a global level, ad spend is predicted to rise by 11.2% this year, driven by ecommerce and online video

A strong digital ad market is set to fuel ad spend growth of 13.5% in the UK, according to Zenith’s latest Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report. That is 8.5% higher than 2019’s pre-pandemic ad spend, with digital advertising predicted to account for 75% of all ad spend in the UK this year. 

Globally, spend is estimated to increase by 11.2% to £522 billion, with ecommerce and online video identified as key drivers of growth. Zenith predicts that online video will grow by 26% this year, making it the fastest growing digital channel in 2021. Meanwhile, the ecommerce market is resulting in greater social media spend - predicted to rise by 25% this year to reach £107 billion and a further 13% next year. Paid search is predicted to grow by 19% to reach £105 billion.

Zenith attributes much of the new money entering the ad market to small businesses that have had to pivot their strategies during the pandemic: “From budgets that brands would previously have allocated to retailers to secure physical shelf-space… they are now spending on display and search ads on retailer websites.” 

The predictions shared in Zenith’s latest report show a continuation of the trends seen in our latest Digital Adspend report, which showed that social and video display both grew by 19% in 2020. At the IAB, one of our key focuses over the past year has been supporting small businesses' use of digital advertising via our Powering Up research and creation of an online SME tool

Find out more about Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts here.

Written by



Related content

Graph illustrating market growth

AA/WARC: Ad market set for strong rebound

The UK’s advertising market will grow by 15.2% this year, and further growth is projected into 2022, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC...

Learn more
Presentation in meeting room

IAB UK issues Digital Adspend RFP

We are accepting proposals from suppliers to deliver our Digital Adspend study, which reports digital advertising expenditure in the UK on an annual and...

Learn more
Abstract adspend imagery

Digital ad market proves resilient with 5% growth in 2020

IAB UK’s Digital Adspend report for 2020, conducted with PwC, shows that the digital advertising market grew by 5% last year to a total of £16.5 billion

... Learn more

Open for business: 70% of SMEs believe marketing is more important than ever

Previewing results from our upcoming research into the SME market, IAB UK’s Head of Research and Measurement Elizabeth Lane explores how SMEs are faring...

Learn more

Why digital advertising works

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