Digital ad spending in Western Europe will grow at about three times the rate of total ad expenditures during eMarketer’s 2015-to-2019 forecast period. Overall, spending on digital platforms in the region will increase 9.1% in 2015 to reach $35.25 billion, and pass $45 billion within four years, as outlined in the new eMarketer report, “Western Europe Digital Ad Spending: Uneven Growth Across the Region.”
Last year, Western Europe—and the eurozone in particular—were expected to be well on the road to economic recovery by late 2015. But this optimistic prediction has largely failed to materialize. That means advertisers in many of the region’s markets and industries are still cautious, and eMarketer forecasts only modest increases in total media ad spending in most countries. Digital continues to grow strongly, however.
Western Europe ranks second globally in annual digital ad spending per internet user. That sum has already passed $100, eMarketer estimates, and will approach $115 this year—about half the amount projected for North America. In 2019, digital ad spending per internet user in Western Europe is expected to reach $142.27.
The UK is the standout leader in spending on digital platforms within the region, followed by Germany, France and Italy. According to a July 2015 report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe) and IHS, gross income associated with digital ad spending reached €8.91 billion ($11.82 billion) in the UK last year, followed by Germany with €5.39 billion ($7.15 billion), France with €3.72 billion ($4.94 billion) and Italy with €1.88 billion ($2.49 billion).
eMarketer projects that the UK, Germany, France and Italy will maintain those relative rankings through 2019. Indeed, these four countries are by far the largest digital ad markets in the region, and will jointly account for more than $25 billion in digital advertising this year, or roughly 71% of the total in Western Europe.
Yet annual growth is relatively low in most continental markets. eMarketer predicts that the UK will post a 12.0% increase in digital ad spending in 2015, but Italy will be the only other member of the EU-5 to see double-digit growth. Digital ad spending in Spain will rise 8.0%, while in France and Germany the gain will be 6.0%.