India leads in ad spend growth across 12 APac markets: Nielsen

MUMBAI: Driven by strong economic performances and rapidly improving consumer confidence levels in the first quarter of 2010, main media (television, newspaper & magazine) advertising activity in India has surged ahead by 32 per cent, the highest growth amongst the 12 Asia Pacific markets covered in The Nielsen Company‘s survey on media spends.

Overall across the 12 markets, media spends grew by 18 per cent. For the first quarter since Q3 2008, all 12 markets across the region recorded strong to bullish ad spend growth. This was also the second consecutive quarter with no declines in ad spending.

In a clear sign that the country is accelerating out of the economic downturn, India emerged as the most confident in the Q1 2010 Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey and is fast on the path of recovery.
The discretionary spending of Indians has also showed significant growth and this is not lost on most marketers who are now back in the growth mode. This is translating into advertising activity rapidly returning to pre downturn levels indicating growth in the second consecutive quarter of media advertising in India and across all 12 markets in Asia Pacific (compared to the same period in 2009).

"Economic prospects are improving rapidly and consumers‘ spending intentions are turning into actual spending reality. This is a sign that marketers, manufacturers and retailers have been eagerly waiting for and is seen translating into advertising spends. The challenge now for marketers however, will be right brand positioning and strengthening brand awareness as visibility diminished during the downturn," said The Nielsen Company president India Piyush Mathur. 
Growth Drivers

Year on year (YOY) growth for a 12-month period to March 2010 saw an increase of 26 per cent in main media ad spends in India. Across the 12 markets main media spends grew by 15 per cent. The main driver of growth in India was the newspaper, which experienced 30 per cent YOY growth in ad spends; the highest percentage growth for newspaper ad spends across all 12 markets covered in the Nielsen survey. Overall newspaper ad spends grew by 14 per cent YOY.

Across the region, television was the main driver of media spends with 16 per cent YOY growth. However, in India, television followed newspapers, growing by 26 per cent; however, this was the highest percentage growth for television ad spends across the 12 markets.

The third of the main media, magazines‘ ad spends grew by 7 per cent in India while across the 12 markets it grew by 4 per cent. India followed China in magazine ad spends, which posted an 18 per cent YOY growth.
All other media combined like radio, outdoor, pay TV and cinema showed a growth of 28 per cent in the 12 months to March 2010 in India. Ad spends by all media sectors saw a growth of 27 per cent YOY.

A quarterly comparison of ad spends in India shows that in Q1 2010, all main media recorded double digit growth to finish 33 per cent ahead of the same quarter in 2009. Overall ad spending was dominated by newspapers with 46 per cent share of spend, followed by television with 32 per cent share in Q1 2010.

Top Advertising Categories

In the previous 12 months till March 2010, all the Top 10 categories registered double digit advertising growth to finish a robust 29 per cent ahead YOY and represented 52 per cent of all main media ad spending. Stellar ad spend increases were noted for the top three categories, which combined represented 22 per cent of all India media spending. These were services (25 per cent YOY growth), food & beverages (37 per cent YOY growth) and personal care/personal hygiene (53 per cent YOY growth). Banking/ finance/ investment (26 per cent YOY growth) and education (27 per cent YOY growth) were the other categories that carved a place for themselves in the top five.

Media spends on social issues has expanded in the past 12 months, not only with government campaigns, but also corporations and brands aligning themselves to relevant social communications like health & hygiene and women‘s and family welfare. Social issues are also now the focus on TV soaps and prime time serials.

Top Spending Products

A varied mix of products is seen advertising across different media but the top three products advertised are from the telecom sector. The fourth biggest spender was LIC Wealth Plus, an investment insurance product from Life Insurance Corporation of India, which was launched in Q1 2010. Another major product new to the top 10 was the Petroleum Conservation Research Association, after two quite low key previous quarters.

"The outlook for media advertising across the remainder of 2010 appears extremely positive in India and the 12 markets surveyed. Consumers are out there spending and intending to loosen up their purse strings, so the onus is now on marketers to ensure their products and services return to top of mind," said Mathur.

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