Q1 2021 Bellwether Report

Total marketing budgets fall at the softest rate since the first quarter of 2020.

The IPA Bellwether Report is a quarterly survey outlining companies’ marketing spend intentions and financial confidence.

The Bellwether Report is researched and published by IHS Markit on behalf of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. The report features original data drawn from a panel of around 300 UK marketing professionals and provides a key indicator of the health of the economy. The survey panel has been carefully selected to represent all key business sectors, drawn primarily from the nation’s top 1000 companies.

Key findings from the Q1 2021 survey:

  • Total marketing budgets fall at the softest rate since the first quarter of 2020
  • Coronavirus restrictions continue to weigh on business conditions
  • Sentiment regarding industry-wide financial prospects turns positive, while own-company expectations strengthen further
  • Budget plans for 2021/2022 point to a recovery in total adspending, led by Main Media

Commenting on the latest survey results, Paul Bainsfair, IPA Director General says:

"Despite remaining in negative territory overall, the vital signs from this quarter’s Bellwether Report are looking ‘V’ encouraging for a bounce back in UK marketing investment. With companies’ confidence levels regarding their financial prospects soaring and with almost three quarters of UK companies either revising their marketing budgets upwards or keeping them the same this quarter versus last, the trajectory is very much moving in a positive direction and at a good pace. As the nation comes out of lockdown consumers will be actively seeking out new products, experiences and entertainment, for which it will be more important than ever for companies to build and rebuild their brand awareness."