A forecast of cross-industry ad spend in the UK from eMarketer predicts that it will be the retail sector that will drive the country’s increase in digital ad spending in 2018.

eMarketer tracked five industries: automotive, consumer goods and products, financial services, travel, and retail. Of all these five, it is retail that is forecast to continue to take the lead in terms of digital ad spend share. It is expected that spending gains across all the industries will boost the overall rise.

In 2017, retail is set to take up 14.2% of the total digital ad spend. Driven by the continued growth in ecommerce, investment is also up by a similar figure – 13.4%. The battle for digital shoppers and increased competition in the food/grocery sector is largely responsible for the rise.

Mobile ad spend leads the way

The greatest impact will be seen with mobile – the key driver of the digital ad growth for the retail sector. In fact, mobile advertising will represent over two thirds of the digital ad amongst retailers.

A significant factor to consider is the vast range of product categories that come under the retail sector’s umbrella. At one end of the scale there are household staples such as food and groceries. At the other end of the scale are highly popular goods such as gadgets and electronics. The range of the necessary and the desirable helps to push the retail digital ad spend higher than other sectors. Coupled with this, ecommerce big players, such as Amazon, continue to push online and mobile ad investment.

However, although the retail sector looks set to lead from the front with its digital ad spend, it will not be the only sector that is increasing digital investment through 2018.

Again, it is predominantly mobile advertising that will drive the retail sector’s digital advertising spending growth, with investment set to increase by 31%. Other sectors will see a significant increase too, ranging from 27% for the travel sector to as high as 30% with the automotive sector.

No sign of a digital ad spend slowdown

The upward trend in digital ad spend in the UK sees no signs of a slowdown. In 2016, the total spend crossed the £10 billion threshold for the first time, increasing by 17%. 2016 also reported the highest annual growth figures since 2007.

The trend for mobile video and the fact that close to half of all time the UK spends online is now spent on smartphones explains why mobile ad spend has become such an important part of overall digital spend.

The rise in the number of people consuming mobile and video content has quickened the pace of digital growth. Retail stands out in front with its total digital ad spend, unsurprisingly, as the sector has so many product categories on offer to consumers.

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