Global advertising expenditure is on track to grow 4.2% this year to reach $559 billion. According to Zenith Media, the forecast points to a 0.2 percentage point drop compared to its prediction made back in March. It expects ad spend to fall slightly behind over the coming three years, arguably due to a lack of large events such as the next US presidential election.

The latest Advertising Expenditure Forecast finds that the US will continue to lead the global ad market in terms of ad dollars. China follows in second place. Of a total increase of $69 billion in ad spend between 2016 to 2019, the US contributes 28% and China 22%.

Internet advertising is now accounting for 37% of total ad spend in 2017 ahead of traditional TV advertising. However, Zenith Media cautions that growth is likely to slow down over the coming years, forecasting a growth rate of 11% until 2019 (41.9%).

Display, which Zenith Media defines as banners, online video and social media, is driving much of that growth at a 14% annual growth rate until 2019. Much of this is due to programmatic, which has made audience targeting more efficient. In addition, online video will see a major push, partly due to the rising availability of quality content as well as mobile viewing tech advancements.

Mobile is estimated to have grown 47% in 2016, following a whopping 86% increase back in 2015. The report predicts that the format will likely reach a 25% annual growth rate until 2019. Desktop advertising meanwhile is likely to shrink by 3% a year.

Mobile global ad spend reached $79 billion in 2016 – that’s 44.5% of internet expenditure and 15.1% of total ad expenditure. In 2019, mobile advertising will reach $155 billion accounting for 26.3% of all ad spend, markedly ahead of desktop ad expenditure at $92 billion.

Mobile is likely the core driver of the growth of global ad spend, contributing $76 billion between 2016 to 2019. That means something has to give, and that something will be desktop which is forecast to decline by $8 billion, as well as print at $14 billion.

Vittorio Bonori, Zenith’s Global Brand President, concludes:

“Global advertising budgets are rising steadily but cautiously, and are falling slightly behind overall economic growth. After a decade of cost-cutting since the financial crisis, we believe brands now need to focus on top-line growth. Our survey shows that brands are looking to data and technology as the main driver of business growth, closely followed by business transformation and new competitive positioning.”

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