Marketing budgets in UK grow at slowest rate in nearly two years
Latest data showed that 23.9% of marketing executives raised their budgets during the latest survey period, generally as part of efforts to support brands, aid the launch of new products or in response to greater competition.
However, cost pressures led in some cases to budget realignments as part of wider company efforts to protect profitability.
There were reports of client caution and ongoing economic uncertainty weighing on sales, and these factors led to 15.2% of panellists reporting a cut to their total marketing budgets.
The resulting net balance of +8.6% was down from +9.9% in the previous quarter and the lowest since the start of 2016.
Although growth has weakened for a second successive quarter, marketing budgets have been continuously expanded since the end of 2012.
Anecdotal evidence indicated that the recent trend towards greater digital marketing continued in the fourth quarter, with a number of respondents commenting on making greater usage of search/SEO and social media tools.
Some panellists reported refreshing and re-launching their websites.
The net result was a further increase in overall internet marketing spend, extending a run of growth in this Bellwether category to eight-and-a-half years.
However, the respective net balance of +10.9% was notably down on the previous survey’s +17.0% and the lowest recorded since Q3 2016.
Other Bellwether categories to register expanded budgets during the latest survey period were events and main media advertising. ■