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Record ad market ad spend in December and CY2021

New Zealand’s media agency market has emerged strongly from the bruising Covid pandemic in a far stronger state, with advertising revenues soaring 19.1 percent in CY2021 to move well out of the Covid doldrums and back beyond the $1 billion mark and set a new record level for NZ ad spend. 

Total bookings hit $1,090,860,177 in CY2021, which was $85,302 above the last record year for ad spend set in CY2017. The result was fuelled by strong growth in Government Category ad spend across the year as the Covid pandemic continued, with that category’s total investment jumping 24 percent to emerge as the largest with ad spend of $128.1 million. 

SMI AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Ractliffe says the market result was an exceptional result, especially given the ongoing COVID restrictions. 

“Given advertising expenditure is so strongly correlated to GDP, this SMI data provides a very strong indication that the broader NZ economy is moving well beyond the original COVID downturn and has instead learned to function extremely effectively in the new Covid era,” she says. 

Both the Digital and Radio media have delivered record levels of ad spend for both the CY2021 and December month periods, and over the course of the year 15 of the 20 largest product categories have spent more on advertising than in the pre-Covid 2019 period. 

“The fact that so many large categories are spending more on advertising now than before the pandemic started really does underscore the fact that the level of confidence in today’s market is at unprecedented levels,” Ractliffe says. 

And she says the year was also notable for consistent growth in agency bookings, with the growth rate the highest in the first half of the year (+30.9 percent) given the prior period was the first and most challenging wave of Covid declines in ad spend. But the positive momentum continued, with ad spend lifting 10.5 percent in the December half to a record level; lifting 2.9 percent to a record December quarter and up 3 percent in the December month to another record level of $95 million. 

Among the major media, TV bookings fell 13.7 percent but the Digital media made huge gains with a 15.6 percent increase in bookings and Radio ad spend grew 13.8 percent. 

Ractliffe says New Zealand’s strong advertising market looks set to continue unheeded in January, with SMI’s NZ Forward Pacings data already showing the market to be up 3 percent on the same month a year ago even without the inclusion of any Digital ad spend detail. 

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