Spending on advertising is set to slow to 4.6 per cent in 2019 as brands tighten the purse strings, with growth expected to fall further if the UK does not secure a Brexit deal.
The projected slowdown comes after ad spend grew six per cent to an estimated £23.5bn in 2018, according to figures from the Advertising Association and Warc.
Last year’s figures were boosted by a 5.1 per cent rise in the three months to the end of September, the strongest result for the third quarter since 2015.
But forecasts for 2019 look less positive, as brands are expected to cut back on their advertising spend amid Brexit uncertainty.
The report predicts TV ad spend will slow to almost flat growth, rising just 0.4 per cent in 2019. Internet advertising, which makes up roughly half of the total spend, is set to grow 9.8 per cent, down from 13.4 per cent last year.
But the figures are based on a “business-favourable” outcome of Brexit, meaning the slowdown could be more pronounced if the UK fails to secure a deal before leaving the EU in March.
Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford said: “UK advertising continues to perform strongly, now delivering its twenty-first straight quarter of growth and demonstrating the commitment of British advertisers to investing in the growth and success of their businesses.
“As the clock ticks down to our departure from the EU, it is crucial the government provides the certainty we are all seeking in business.”
The latest figures are more optimistic than a report published earlier this month warning the advertising sector could suffer its first recession in a decade in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Research by Enders Analysis estimated UK ad spend could fall three per cent if the UK fails to negotiate an agreement.