Healthcare Ad Spend Growing Faster in US Than Globally

August 20, 2019

US healthcare ad spend growth continues to outpace not only global healthcare ad spend but also total global ad spend. As the leader in healthcare advertising expenditures, US healthcare advertisers spent $15.9 billion in 2018, per research from Zenith.

The definition of healthcare advertising can differ depending on the market. For its report, Zenith defines healthcare advertising “to include whatever of the following can be advertised in each market: over-the-counter medicines, prescription medicines, pharmaceutical manufacturers and brands, medical insurance, medical equipment, fitness and diet products and service, hygiene products and corrective lenses and glasses.”

Growing at a somewhat slower rate than total global ad spend, which is expected to rise by 4.8% this year (across the 13 key markets surveyed accounting for 78% of worldwide ad spend), global healthcare ad spend is forecasted to total $36 billion, representing growth of 3.6%. However, while global healthcare ad spend is expected to grow steadily at another 3.6% in 2020, the growth of total ad spend across categories appears to be slowing down to 4.3% next year.

US healthcare ad spend, on the other hand, is forecasted to grow 6% this year with an additional 5% growth in 2020. The US and China are the dominant markets for healthcare advertising, together accounting for the vast majority (86%) of healthcare ad spending. The larger expenditure towards healthcare advertising in the US partially attributed to the US allowing for direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, which is not allowed in other large markets.

While TV continues to be the dominant medium for healthcare advertising and accounted for more than half (54.7%) of the total healthcare ad spend in 2018, the amount healthcare advertisers are expected to spend on television is expected to drop 4.6% this year and another 5.2% in 2020. Healthcare is a sector that puts more of its spend into television than the advertising market as a whole, with the average in 2018 being 30.8%.

That being said, healthcare ad spend is shifting in a similar direction to the market as a whole. Global ad spend has seen growth in media such as internet and out-of-home (OOH) while TV ad spend has declined. For healthcare, TV ad spend has declined while internet and OOH ad spend are both expected to grow considerably in 2019 (16% and 15%, respectively).

About the Data: The research covers the following markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and the USA. These markets account for 78% of global ad spend across all categories and are representative of trends worldwide.

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