Marketers’ budget plans for 2016/2017 positive says report

UK marketers have revised their budgets up in Q4 2015, but to the smallest amount for nearly three years, reveals the latest Bellwether Report. Yet growth has now been sustained for 13 successive quarters and marketers’ budget plans for 2016/2017 are positive.

The report reveals a net balance of +0.5% of companies registering an increase to their budgets during Q4 2015, down from +4.4% in Q3 2015. This marks the lowest upward revision in 11 quarters.

Optimism regarding marketers’ own financial prospects and their wider industries remained fairly subdued in Q4, reflecting the softening in the rate of UK economic expansion in the second half of 2015. A net balance of +20.4% of companies indicated they had grown more optimistic about their own prospects compared to three months ago, down from +22.4% in Q3 and the lowest recorded level in 11 quarters. The net balance for wider financial prospects was +7.0%, little changed from +6.8% reported in Q3.

However, despite easing confidence over the quarter, UK marketers have indicated a positive outlook for their 2016/17 budget plans, with a net balance of +24.6% of companies signalling growth in their total budgets for the coming year.

Equally positive, and in spite of geopolitical instabilities, potentially higher interest rates and uncertainty over Brexit, Bellwether forecasts a steady expansion of 3.9% in UK adspend growth in 2016.

“While these latest findings reveal inevitable easing due to macroeconomic concerns, there are some positives,” comments Paul Bainsfair, director general at The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. “Marketers have signalled a marked increase in their budget plans for 2016, both the Olympics and Euros are on the horizon and Bellwether has predicted annual adspend growth of 3.9%. Not a bad start to the year.”

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