June 16 (UPI) -- Ad spending in the United States is forecast to decline by 13 percent in 2020 due mainly to COVID-19, an industry report said Tuesday -- but won't reach the depths seen before the Great Recession.
GroupM projected in its report that annual spending on advertising will fall to just below $210 billion. During the financial crisis more than a decade ago, ad spending declined by 16 percent.
"That we 'only' expect a 13 percent decline is surprising," the report states. "We might normally expect that because the 2020 economic decline is so much worse than 2009, advertising should be much weaker."
GroupM said the decline in ad spending could have been much worse, given that the U.S. economy is forecast to contract by as much as 6 percent by the end of the year -- the sharpest decline since the Great Depression.
"Putting current conditions in tangible terms, as measured solely by gross domestic product, conditions are still best characterized as awful," GroupM added.
The report said there are some moderating factors compared with 2009, however, including the fact that 2020 is a presidential election year. GroupM analysts said political advertising is expected to nearly double 2019's amount, at $15 billion.
"We estimate slightly more than half of this amount will go to local TV and much of this activity will be concentrated in swing states, which usually account for only a minority of the country's population."
World moves to reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (L) passes out face masks when he arrives at Grand Central Station to attend a nearby press conference to enter phase 1 of a four-part reopening plan in New York City on June 8. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo