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Ad spend in APAC expected to grow by 5.9% this 2021: report

Singapore – Ad spend in Asia Pacific, home to 60% of the world’s population, is expected to grow by 5.9% this 2021,, new report from global advertising agency dentsu shows.

According to the recent report, the pandemic has accelerated a clear shift to digital in terms of ad spend in 2020 versus 2019. The growth is led by China where digital ad spend for the year accounted for US$64.7B, up from 64.3% in 2019.

Meanwhile, digital ad spend in Hong Kong accounted for 72.3% in the region, a 9% increase from 2019. In Singapore ad spend garnered 39.8% of the whole region, up 14.4% from 2019. Japan, meanwhile, also saw an increase, at 47.3%, a growth of 7.1% from last year. South Korea also showed significant growth with 55.1% digital ad spend, an increase by 11% versus last year, while in India as spend was at 27.9%, an increase by 7.9%. For Indonesia, digital ad spend was at 29.6%, a jump of 5.5% versus the same period in 2019.

For Ashish Bhasin, CEO of dentsu APAC, the recent rise in digital ad expenditure can be attributed to the accessibility of next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, and the current global state, affected by the global pandemic.

Dentsu APAC_Ashish Bhasin's Headshot_Feb'21
Ashish Bhasin, CEO of dentsu APAC

“Now that we are unrestrained by physical space, we are at liberty to reimagine what a concert, conference, shopping experience, buying property, cars, attending a class should and can be. As contactless technologies make stores less human, online commerce has become more social and more personal, marking the rise of Social Commerce, powered by next generation live streaming platforms,” Bhasin stated.

Most of the digital ad expenses are credited to the rise of online video consumption in APAC, as statistics show that a 4% growth in consumption was recorded last year and is forecasted to grow again by 3.9% in 2021. Such rise in digital ad expenses are evident country-wise, as Malaysia’s spend for online video jumped from US$61M in 2019 to US$108M in 2020, and Singapore from US$16M in 2019 to US$62M in 2020 – both indicating an incline for this medium in these two smaller, yet dynamic SEA markets.

“People who have jobs based around using a screen will be able to work from home far more easily. As a result, many new consumer segments will emerge and brand marketers will need to work with their media and marketing agency partners even more closely, to tap into this opportunity. Brand marketers need to show a high level of empathy at these difficult times, to help customers and employees adjust as smoothly as possible.” Bhasin added.

Despite the large presence of online media, traditional media is still relevant publicly, yet it is worth noting that television’s share of media was at a historical low of 28% across the APAC region, and is forecasted to continue declining into 2022. 

Southeast Asian markets showed varied average shares in traditional media: Vietnam (77%), Thailand (60.6%), Philippines (65%), Indonesia (56%) and also in India (41.1%), Japan (32.6%), and Taiwan (37%).

“Conspicuous consumption has been replaced by anxiety and sheltering, with many cautious about doing things that used to be ‘normal’, including shopping, using public transport, and being in crowded spaces. By the summer of 2020, one third of the world’s population had been in some form of lockdown, huddling close to the safety of our homes, as our lives shifted online, resulting in considerable increase in the use of at-home media such as Netflix, Zoom, and Twitch,” Bhasin concluded.