Q3 2021 Bellwether Report

Marketing budget growth at strongest in over four years

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 Q3 2021 survey:

  • Total marketing budgets increase at strongest rate since Q2 2017
  • Pent-up consumer demand, successful vaccination roll-out and looser restrictions drive broader growth in marketing budgets
  • Company-level financial prospects at their most optimistic since Q1 2015
  • Adspend set to grow sharply in 2021 and 2022

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

"While we welcome the re-opening of global economies, it has brought with it various new challenges, particularly on the supply side. And there were widespread concerns among Bellwether panellists that supply shortages and issues with transport could hinder their business operations, and also impact their sales performances as many firms pass on these higher costs to their own selling prices. Having said this, we welcome the figures that reveal, in spite of this, advertisers are making the most of the overall economic uptick and are seizing the opportunity to invest in their brands. It is particularly good to see that companies are investing more in main media ‘big ticket’ campaigns, with these budgets revised up to the greatest extent since Q2 2017. As the evidence shows, investing in long-term brand building media is paramount to a brand’s long-term success."