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UK to become world’s first country where 50% of ad spend is digital

2015 will see the UK become the first country in the world where 50 per cent of all advertising expenditure goes on digital media.

According to research conducted by eMarketer, £8.1 billion will be spent across digital platforms, accounting for 50 per cent of 2015’s £16.2 billion total predicted ad spend.

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The UK is closely followed by Norway and China, but is expected to remain the world leader in digital ad expenditure until 2018, when China takes top spot. The increase is predominantly being driven by the growth of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, with digital ad spend on mobile devices set to rise 45 per cent in 2015 to reach £3.3 billion.

Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer, believes pushing through the 50 per cent mark is a watershed moment for advertising in the UK.

“Digital reaching the 50 per cent threshold in the UK is a significant moment for the ad industry, and digital’s dominance is particularly interesting when compared with the global splits, as well as the splits in some other notable regions,” he said. “Digital accounts for a 29.6 per cent share globally and just over 31 per cent in the US, for example. The UK ad market is notable for its aggressive embrace of online advertising and its rapid adoption of mobile advertising. Because so much TV and radio programming appears ad-free in the UK, the comparative spending on digital channels has always been high. This year, though, we’re set to see digital reach an inflection point.”

To put the news into wider context, digital accounts for 30 per cent of total ad spend worldwide, highlighting the UK’s willingness to embrace new technologies.

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In other media channels, TV is set to grow by 3.2 per cent, radio 2.6 per cent and outdoor 2.5 per cent. Print spend will continue to decline, however, falling by 3.9 per cent in 2015.

Image Credit: Moyan Brenn

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.