Global ad spend totaled USD 266 billion in the first half of 2012, showing a 2.7 percent increase over the same period in 2011. Increases were relatively contained when compared with the difficult first half of 2011, rife with natural disasters, political uprisings, and the ripple effects of financial crises in both Europe and the United States.
Clearly both advertisers and consumers are proceeding cautiously in an uncertain economic environment, where even economic powerhouses like China are facing downward GDP revisions and unprecedented advertising budget cuts. According to Nielsen, global consumer confidence decreased three index points in the second quarter to 91 amid worrying economic signals from Europe, China, and a stalled U.S. job market.
Though advertising budget cuts continue to run rampant in Europe (down -2.7% in 1H 2012 vs. 1H 2011), advertising expenditures in North America showed positive trends in the second quarter, ending the first half of 2012 with a +2.4 percent increase over a year earlier. The increase is in part attributable to a 12.4 percent increase in Industry & Services advertising during Q2, which includes government and political advertising in advance of the U.S. presidential election in November.