02_Elements/Icons/ArrowLeft Back to Insight
Insights > Media

U.S. Ad Spend Falls Nine Percent in 2009, Nielsen Says

1 minute read | February 2010

U.S. ad spending was down for the sixth straight quarter, despite signs that the decline is slowing, according to preliminary figures released today by The Nielsen Company.  All told, advertisers spent an estimated $117 billion on U.S. media in 2009, down 9% from 2008.

Thanks in part to a relatively strong fourth quarter, the 9% decline was an improvement from the pace of ad spending reported earlier in the year.  Spending was down 15.4% through the first six months of 2009 and 11.5% after the first three quarters.

“Fourth quarter ad spending was down just two percent year-over-year, and that helped soften the full-year decline,” said Terrie Brennan, senior VP for new business development at The Nielsen Company. “In fact, most of the top advertisers showed increased spending late in the year. These are encouraging signs for an ad market that’s still trying to stop the bleeding.”

Spanish Language Cable TV (+32.2%) and Cable TV (+14.8%) stood out as the top-gaining media in 2009. Free-Standing Insert Coupon (+11.5) was the only other medium to show significant year-over-year growth. Internet (+0.1%) remained essentially flat.

Spending by the top ten product categories was down 9.5% in 2009. The automotive industry was the top category with over $8 billion spent last year. Pharmaceutical, Quick Service Restaurants, and Department Stores were next on the list, with each category showing year-over-year gains.

RANK PRODUCT CATEGORY 2009 AD SPEND (millions) 2008 AD SPEND (millions) % CHANGE
1 Automotive (Factory & Dealer Assoc.) $8,039.1 $10,491.6 -23.4%
2 Pharmaceutical $4,504.6 $4,424.6 1.8%
3 Quick Service Restaurant $4,068.5 $4,014.9 1.3%
4 Department Stores $4,066.3 $3,956.0 2.8%
5 Wireless Telephone Services $3,386.2 $3,689.8 -8.2%
6 Motion Picture $3,368.4 $3,414.0 -1.3%
7 Auto Dealerships – Local $3,227.2 $4,188.6 -23.0%
8 Direct Response Products $2,465.8 $2,582.9 -4.5%
9 Restaurants $1,557.6 $1,615.0 -3.6%
10 Furniture Stores $1,437.5 $1,553.1 -7.4%
  TOP 10 TOTAL $36,121.2 $39,930.5 -9.5%
Source : The Nielsen Company

Download Nielsen’s 2009 Year End Ad Spend Press Release

Related tags:

Continue browsing similar insights

Our products can help you and your business

  • Consumer & Media View

    Access syndicated and custom consumer research that will help you shape successful brand, advertising and marketing…

  • NCSolutions

    Maximize CPG advertising effectiveness with data to better segment, optimize and enable sales-based outcomes.