US Offline Media Spend in 2020 and the Outlook for 2021

February 24, 2021

WinterberryGroup US Offline Media Spend Review Outlook Feb2021Total US advertising and marketing spend in 2020 dropped by 10.2% year-over-year to total $340.3 billion — $39 billion less than the annual spend in 2019. The brunt of the decline in spending was felt by offline media, which fell by 22.9% over 2019, totaling $171.9 billion, per a report from Winterberry Group.

The decrease in offline media spend last year appears to have made it possible for spend in online media to catch up and be on par with offline spend; something that Winterberry Group did not expect to see until 2023. This can also be seen in global ad spend, with dentsu reporting that digital ad spend across the globe is now equal to that of offline media.

Here’s a rundown of offline channels in order of their total spend in 2020.

Linear TV

Even though spending on linear TV has been decreasing over the past couple years, 2020’s year-over-year (y-o-y) drop of 12.8% was much steeper than a year earlier. That said, the $56.1 billion invested in linear TV in 2020 continues to easily represent the largest share of total offline media spend.

This year, spend is expected to decrease again, but at a rate closer to what was seen in 2019. Marketers are expected to spend $52.9 billion on linear TV ads this year, a y-o-y decrease of 5.6%.


Of the offline channels examined, experiential/sponsorship media spend in the US experienced the biggest drop in 2020, falling 49.4% y-o-y to a total of $24.2 billion. This is a direct result of the myriad cancellations of sporting and entertainment events caused by the pandemic.

The channel is expected to see a modest recovery this year of 6.1% to reach $25.6 billion.

Shopper Marketing

Accounting for $19.8 billion of total offline media spend in 2020, Shopper Marketing experienced the second-largest decrease in spend of the analyzed channels (-33.2%). However, it is also set to benefit from the second-largest y-o-y growth in spend this year, seeing a lift of 20.1% to hit $23.8 billion. Winterberry Group notes that Shopper Marketing includes “merchandising, in-store displays, sampling, retailer-specific coupons/offers and in-store events.”


Although October data from Nielsen shows that the number of radio listeners was nearly back to what it was pre-pandemic, it was not enough to prevent marketers from decreasing their investment in the channel by 27.2% over their 2019 spend. As such, radio accounted for $10.1 billion of total offline media spend for the year.

Winterberry Group estimates that media spend on radio will reach $10.4 billion in 2021, representing growth of 3.7% y-o-y.

Newspapers and Magazines

Marketers invested $9.2 billion in print newspaper media last year, a decrease of 28.9% from 2019. Much like with linear TV, newspaper media spend is still expected to drop again this year (-13.7% to $7.9 billion) but continuing with double-digit declines.

The same can be said for print magazine media spend, which declined by 18.5% y-o-y in 2020 to account for $8.8 billion of total offline spend. This year, investment in print magazines is expected to fall by 9.6% y-o-y to a total of $8 billion.

Traditional Outdoor

Per reports from the OAAA, US out-of-home (OOH) advertising revenues experienced quarterly declines not seen in recent history. This recent report shows that media spend for the channel decreased by 21.9% y-o-y ($6.8 billion).

It does appear that 2021 will be a better year for OOH, with expectations that spend will grow 14.5% over 2020 to reach $7.7 billion.

Addressable TV

As the only offline channel analyzed that saw growth in 2020 (4% y-o-y), advertisers spent $2.1 billion on Addressable TV last year. Last year’s growth rate, though was much lower than it was in 2019. However, spending on this channel is expected to be back on trend in 2021, with a projected increase of 38.9% y-o-y, to reach $2.9 billion.

The full report can be downloaded here.

For more on media trends and audiences, check out MarketingCharts Media Audience Demographics, 7th Annual Edition.

45th Parallel Design Ad

Explore More Charts.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This