Q4 2018 Bellwether Report

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

Q4 2018 Bellwether Report

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 Q4 2018 survey:

  • Six years of total marketing budget growth ends as uncertainty bites
  • Noticeable moderation in spending gains for internet-based marketing
  • Sales promotions budgets strongest growing category
  • Company-level financial prospects turn negative for first time since Q3 2012
  • Adspend growth forecast for 2018 reduced, but bounceback anticipated for 2019

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

"In uncertain political and economic times such as these, the understandable reaction for some advertisers is to lose confidence in brand building advertising and to think short term even to the point of heavily discounting their products and services. We’ve seen this on and offline in the run up to Christmas – and now see the impact in black and white in this latest Bellwether Report. We know from the research we have done into what builds and what destroys brands - and it is proven - that too much short-term sales promotion activity destroys brand value in the long term. Marketers need to weather this turbulent period and think ahead. Now is the time to be bold, to keep up their share of voice and, if they can, increase it to grow their share of market. Businesses that rely on the strength of their brands need to follow the general 60:40 (brand building vs activation spend) rule of thumb."