Boris Johnson's election victory triggers "renewed wave of optimism" in latest Bellwether marketing spend report

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

Boris Johnson's general election victory has led to a "renewed wave of optimism" for UK marketing expenditure after a stagnant 2019.

The latest IPA Bellwether Report, published today, showed modest growth in the final quarter of 2019, with a net balance of +4% of surveyed firms revising their total marketing budgets higher, up from -0.5% in the third quarter.

Out of around 300 UK-based companies surveyed, 23% observed budget growth while around 19% reported cuts, with the remaining 58% going with an unchanged spending allocation.

The breakdown by category showed that internet remained as top performer, with a net balance of +7.9%, while there was a fractional upward revision for main media advertising. All other categories - direct marketing, PR, sales promotions and events - registered downward budget revisions.

Internet remained the top performing category in the latest report

The preliminary outlook for marketing spending in the 2020/21 budgeting year also appears promising, with a net balance of 15.7% of companies expecting their total marketing budgets to be upwardly revised, well up from the 2019/20 forecast of 3.4%.

Joe Hayes, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the Bellwether Report, said: “The rise in total marketing budgets provides tentative signs of a momentum shift, particularly when coupled with preliminary data for the 2020/21 budget year. It appears that firms are looking to release the pent-up investment which has been put on hold amid the high degree of political and economic uncertainty which has plagued the UK business climate for well over 12 months now.

“Nevertheless, while these positive developments will perk up enthusiasm for marketing budgets in the coming year, downside risks to the outlook remain at large, particularly if a business cycle recovery does not fully materialise and Brexit uncertainty descends again.”