Q1 2023 Bellwether Report

Companies’ total UK marketing budget growth hits one-year high despite ongoing cost-of-living crisis

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

The Bellwether Report is researched and published by S&P Global 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 2023 IPA Bellwether Report:

  • UK companies show greater appetite for marketing activities to support their brands, despite intense cost pressures and struggling UK households
  • Main media marketing budget growth improves but sales promotions is top performer as firms look for ways to help out customers
  • 2023/24 budget plans show optimism among marketing executives
  • Company-own financial prospects turn positive for first time in a year, but firms remain downbeat on industry-wide outlook

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

"This is a positive start to the financial year for marketing budgets, all things considered, The overall increase in confidence from UK companies regarding their financial prospects is being reflected in their marketing budget decision making.

"As the cost-of-living crisis continues, it is understandable for companies to offer sales promotions to help their customers’ tightened purse strings. To ensure brand loyalty isn’t eroded and to protect the long-term health of their brands, however, such activity must be coupled with investment in longer-term brand building media. We are pleased, therefore, to see that while investment in sales promotion activity has spiked this quarter, investment in main media advertising was revised up to its strongest level since this time last year."