Feb 03, 2022

Global Marketing Index: A Review of 2021

2021: A strong year for global marketing budgets was led by Digital, Mobile, TV and OOH


WARC’s annual review of its Global Marketing Index (GMI) highlights a remarkable year of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The GMI tracks and analyses current conditions among 1000+ marketers on a monthly basis, including marketing budgets, trading conditions and staffing levels. Highlights of the annual review include:

    • Recovery maintained in 2021

Over the last 12 months, growth has been maintained across all key indices globally and regionally, signalling that, despite the twists and turns of 2021, key successes such as vaccine programmes across the world have helped markets set themselves up to live with COVID.

This recovery is led by Digital, Mobile, TV and OOH, with the latter coming back into growth in 2021 following the lifting of movement restrictions. This is supported through further analysis from WARC Data, which show a 23.8% resurgence in marketing budgets across channels in 2021, valued at $771bn, with digital and mobile media up (41.9%), OTT video (41.6%) and search (39.4%). TV is up by 5.5% from last year and OOH up by 21.8%.

    • Zero-COVID strategy disruptive to growth

Although key indices in APAC, Europe and the Americas remain in growth, it is a tale of two halves. APAC markets which have operated a zero-COVID strategy saw decreased rates of growth in the summer, in line with restrictions being imposed, contrasting to markets in Europe and the Americas which decided to live with the virus and consequently saw the highest rates of growth in the same period.

Despite this, markets in APAC have since recovered with marketing budgets and trading conditions showing a higher level of growth compared to Europe and the Americas.

    •  The Great Resignation impacts staffing globally

The economic fallout of the pandemic resulted in the mass exodus of workers across America, which was termed as ‘The Great Resignation’. This has been captured in the GMI as staffing levels in the Americas have consistently outperformed Europe and APAC in 2021.

However, the movement is not limited to the Americas as staffing levels in both Europe and APAC have seen an increased rate of growth in Q4. Consequently, this is likely to remain a challenge in 2022 as regions battle with factors such as Brexit, work-life balance and the worker-employer relationship.

“Global Marketing Index: A review of 2021” is a round-up of the monthly GMI reports, which are available by subscription or through registering to the panel here. The report is available to read in full here

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