Global advertising spend will keep growing in 2022, despite challenging economic conditions, rising inflation and war in Ukraine, according to predictions from WPP’s media buying unit GroupM.

GroupM’s “This Year Next Year” global mid-year forecast expects 8.4% growth in global ad spend this year, just below its December estimate which put growth at 9.7%.

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Global ad spend predicted 8.4% rise

In the US, ad spend is forecast at 9.3%. The figure excludes the impact of US political advertising, which is on track to reach $13 billion in revenue this year alone.

WPP said that sources of growth in 2022 include increasing numbers of new small businesses, which are likely to advertise at higher levels than the business they are replacing; venture-funded “new economy” advertisers seeking growth; and Chinese-based marketers advertising abroad. Low unemployment levels and high household savings are another bright spot. However, interest rate hikes will be a drag on growth.

“Although the overall economy and environment is more negative now than it was in December, broadly speaking, people in our industry and I think many pundits are overly negative relative to the reality of how the overall economy is faring,” said Brian Wieser, the president of business intelligence at GroupM, in a call with journalists, reported by Reuters.

The markets expected to lead the way include India, which is projected to experience double-digit growth, France, Germany, Brazil and Canada, which the group expects will grow by high single digits. The US, Australia and the UK are estimated to grow a bit slower, in the mid-single digits.

China’s growth is predicted at 3.3% now versus the 10.2% growth GroupM estimated in December. GroupM attributes this reversal to pandemic-related lockdowns in the first half of the year paired with supply-chain bottlenecks.

GroupM predicts 12% growth from digital ad spend this year, less than half the 32% growth rate of 2021. Television advertising is forecast to grow 4% globally in 2022, while the continued rise of the streaming industry is expected to push spend on connected TV up 24% year-on-year, to account for 12% of global TV spend.