Q4 2022 Bellwether Report

Total UK marketing budgets continue to grow despite looming UK recession

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 Q4 2022 IPA Bellwether Report:

  • Firms are reportedly expanding marketing budgets to support their brands through the impending downturn
  • Main media category returns to growth; events budgets expand again
  • Preliminary 2023/24 budgeting points to strong growth next year
  • Financial prospects remain subdued at industry-wide and company-own level, but turn less negative

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

"Given the immediate outlook for the UK economy has deteriorated since the previous Bellwether Report, this quarter’s results are most welcome. While understandably cautious, they are nonetheless in positive territory.

"We can see that the companies that can are holding their nerve and continuing to invest in marketing through the downturn, with supporting anecdotal evidence from the report also revealing that a lot of companies who are concerned about losing market share to competitors have either maintained or increased their spend accordingly. This indicates that marketing is being used both defensively and offensively.

"It is particularly good to see positive revisions to main media budgets this quarter which is helping to drive the overall upward figure, fuelled particularly by investment in video advertising. As our evidence shows, this will stand brands in good stead during a downturn as brand-building advertising has a proven ability to maintain a brand’s pricing power and protect its profit margins."