In total, TV adspend crept up 0.2 per cent in 2016 to £5.3bn, the seventh successive year of growth.
A Thinkbox analysis of Nielsen figures shows that the total was dragged up by online companies, with other sectors’ spending in decline or flat.
The next biggest areas were food (£627m, down 10 per cent), cosmetics and personal care (£439m, down three per cent), entertainment and leisure (£419m, flat) and motors (£314m, up two per cent).
According to the Neilsen figures, Amazon was the single biggest online business for TV advertising, spending £34.3m, up 39 per cent, followed by Comparethemarket and Moneysupermarket.
“TV advertising creates huge effects instantly as well as building and maintaining profitable brands for the long-term,” said Thinkbox chief executive Lindsey Clay.
“For online brands in particular, which have little or no physical presence, TV’s ability to create emotional connections with large audiences is vital. It helps make them feel less virtual and more real.”