The UK ad market remains well-set, as long as that pesky recession stays away

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Adam Smith, futures director at GroupM, offers a snapshot guide to upcoming trends in the UK advertising industry

Forecasting aids critical thinking, but rarely predicts trend reversals. I repeat JK Galbraith’s dictum, "We forecast not because we know, but because we are asked."

The UK remains the fastest-growing mature advertising market, matching the Asia-Pacific average. It is the world’s fourth-largest advertising economy and third-largest contributor to global ad growth. We forecast 2019 to look similar, with digital climbing to 60% of a total £20bn ad investment.

The economic cycle comprises recovery and recession. Recession is a year, maybe 18 months. Recovery endures more like 10 years. Real UK GDP is in its ninth successive year of growth, and advertising its seventh. We may be certain recession will come, and almost as certain it will be a surprise.

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