Who spent the most on advertising during 2020?

Find out who spent the most on advertising during 2020 and the forecasts for 2021.

The biggest advertiser in 2020 was HM Government who spent £164m up a staggering 238% year on year!

This is hardly surprising when you consider the magnitude of changing pandemic/COVID messages over the last 12 months.  HM Governments large spend was followed by Unilever up 76% to £137.5m, Sky £124.2m and P&G £117.2m, all undoubtedly underpinned by the pandemic…the need to increase brand trust and capitalise on more time being spent indoors.

The rest of the top 10 is made up of McDonald’s (£89.7m, down 41%), Tesco (£81.1m, up 1%), Public Health England (£80.5m, up 796%), Reckitt (£75.1m, down 10.9%), L’Oréal (£72.4m, up 7%) and Amazon (£67.3m, down 40%).

Overall spend across the top 10 UK advertisers dropped 19% in 2020, with an estimated combined ad spend of £7.3bn. Five of the top 10 reduced ad spend, with just three brands, excluding the Government and Public Health England, increasing investment.

TV remained the largest channel in 2020 with an estimated spend of £4.4bn, followed by out-of-home £1.1bn, press £969m, radio £783m and cinema £54.9m (source Nielsen)

The UK’s ad market is expected to grow by 15.2% this year to £26.69bn, growth is expected across most media sectors in 2021.

Particularly strong results are expected in cinema at 228.4% and reflective of the fact the sector was closed for most of 2020; digital out of home at 53.6%, traditional out of home at 37.7%, and video on demand at 21.2%. (Advertising Association).

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