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Record £9.5bn to be spent during Christmas advertising season

Advertising Association

5 min read Partner content

Advertisers are set to spend a record £9.5bn during the Christmas season, according to new data released by the Advertising Association (AA) and WARC. This is a 4.8% increase from last year’s record spend of £9bn and demonstrates the continued importance of advertising to the economy during the festive period.

Further research conducted by the Advertising Association for this year’s Christmas advertising season revealed nearly half (48%) of all adults credit Christmas ads with helping to spark gift ideas, while 70% of young adults (25-34) find Christmas ads to be the ultimate festive mood booster.

Notable trends in advertising spend for the Christmas season include year-on-year growth in a series of media channels. Broadcast Video on Demand (BVOD) leads the way with a 20.2% increase, while out-of-home advertising and online display follow closely with 10.3% and 9.1% growth, respectively. The internet continues to be an important platform for advertisers, with four out of five pounds now spent on online advertising. Television advertising remains significant, with a predicted spend of £1.5 billion on TV during the quarter.

Many of the UK’s biggest brands will release blockbuster Christmas ads this year including companies such John Lewis, Boots, and Tesco. Sainsbury’s has 80s legend Rick Astley in its Christmas ad, while Asda features festive favourite Michael Bublé in its ad. The festive ads appear across a series of days and weeks during November and into early December, following a well-established pattern between advertisers, agencies, and media owners.

Sharon Lloyd Barnes, Commercial Director, Advertising Association, said: “Christmas advertising is an integral part of the festive season. From offering gift ideas to inspiring holiday cheer, the annual display of brand creativity consistently entertains and warms hearts. One of advertising’s major roles is to help people choose between products and services. Whether it’s an outdoor ad for a local Christmas fair, or a big budget campaign for a high street brand, advertising is there to help people know about the options available to them.”

Matt Bourn, Communications Director, Advertising Association, said: “Whether you’re a big high street store or a small local business, Christmas advertising is essential to attracting customers, helping to inspire ways people can enjoy the festive season and supporting jobs across the UK. The ads we will see this year will be among top contenders for some of the best ads worldwide, going onto win awards and reinforcing the UK’s position as a global hub for advertising, creativity, and storytelling.”

Following the Victorian era, during which family and gift-giving became central themes of the celebration, advertising allowed businesses to use the festive season to sell their products. This year's holiday season follows a long tradition of Christmas adverts. Many examples of those, such as the Coca Cola ‘Holidays Are Coming’, Yellow Pages, Quality Street and John Lewis award-winning campaigns including Monty The Penguin can be seen online at the History of Advertising Trust.


*Note: Broadcaster VOD, digital revenues for newsbrands, magazine brands, and radio station websites are also included within online display and classified totals, so care should be taken to avoid double counting. Online radio includes targeted in-stream radio/audio advertising sold by UK commercial radio companies, together with online S&P inventory.

For more information, please contact:

Advertising Association

Matt Bourn, Director of Communications

Mariella Brown, Communications Manager


The research for Advertising Association was carried out online by Opinion Matters throughout 13.10.2023 – 16.10.2023 amongst a panel resulting in 2,003 nationally representative general UK consumers (16+) responding. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the General Dara Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018)

About the Advertising Association 
The Advertising Association promotes the role and rights of responsible advertising - trusted, inclusive, and sustainable – and its value to people, society, businesses, and the economy. Responsible businesses understand that there is little point in an advertisement that people cannot trust. That's why, over 50 years ago, the Advertising Association led UK advertising towards a system of independent self-regulation which has since been adopted around the world. There are nearly thirty UK trade associations representing advertising, media, and marketing. Through the Advertising Association they come together with a single voice when speaking to policy makers and influencers. 

About the Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report

The Advertising Association/WARC quarterly Expenditure Report is the definitive guide to advertising expenditure in the UK. Impartial and independent of any media channel or agency affiliation, it is the only source of historical quarterly adspend data and forecasts for the different media for the coming eight quarters. With data from 1982, this comprehensive and detailed review of advertising spend includes the AA/WARC’s own quarterly survey of all national newspapers, regional newspaper data collated in conjunction with Local Media Works and magazine statistics from WARC’s own panels. Data for other media channels are compiled in conjunction with UK industry trade bodies and organisations, notably the Internet Advertising Bureau, Outsmart, Radiocentre and the Royal Mail.

All data are net of discounts and include agency commission but exclude production costs. The survey was launched in 1981 and has produced data on a quarterly basis ever since.

Methodology for WARC’s quarterly forecasts

Analysis of annual adspend data over the past 35 years shows that there is a link between annual changes in GDP and annual changes in adspend (after allowing for inflation and excluding recruitment adspend). Over this period, GDP changes account for about two thirds of the change in adspend. WARC has developed its own forecasting model to generate forecasts for two years based on assumptions about future economic growth. The model provides an indication of likely overall spend levels – adjusted to allow for short-term factors (Olympics, World Cup etc).

The Expenditure Report launched online in February 2010 and combines data from the discontinued print publications the Quarterly Survey of Advertising Expenditure and the Advertising Forecast. It is relied upon daily by the world’s largest brands, ad agencies, media owners, investment banks and academic institutions. Alongside over 200 readymade tables, subscribers can create their own customised tables for analysis of different media and time periods, as well as track the different media’s share of adspend. All reports can be exported from the online interface. An annual subscription is priced at £975 for AA members and £1,475 for nonmembers.


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