Research from trade body the Advertising Association in conjunction with marketing company Warc, said that the market was worth £17.2bn last year, a 2.3 per cent rise on the previous year and not far off the record £17.4bn of 2007.
Economists watch the advertising industry closely as it is believed to be a bellwether for the wider health of the country, and is closely linked to consumer spending. The figures, released yesterday, claimed to show that the recovery was on track and is set for improved growth next year.
The research forecast that spending would rise by 2.7 per cent in 2012, and by five per cent next year, having been relatively stagnant in the years since 2007.
In 2008, total spending had fallen to £16.9bn and in 2009 it sunk to a low of £14.8bn.
The fastest-growing areas over the next two years are set to be internet video services and newspaper websites, with online sales expected to return newspaper groups to growth in 2014.
TV and radio are also set to register strong progress. The internet is now the biggest section for advertising spending, at £5.4bn, followed by TV at £4.5bn and direct mail, on which marketers spent £2.1bn.
“Advertising does not just track GDP, it drives it,” the AA’s Tim Leroy said. “The return to pre-recession levels of spending will have an impact not just on ad-land but the economy at large.”