Clouds gather around Western Europe ad market

Two media agency forecasts have warned of a slowdown in adspend in Western Europe this year as drops in Spain and Italy offset growth in the UK.

Adspend: agency forecasts see slowdown looming in Western Europe
Adspend: agency forecasts see slowdown looming in Western Europe

Interpublic's MagnaGlobal intelligence unit is the more pessimistic of the two, predicting a 0.2% decline for the region in 2012, after revising its December forecast of 1.1% growth.

Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia has cut its March outlook of 1.5% growth to 0.4% growth.

The Spanish market is in dire straits, with MagnaGlobal expecting a drop of 8.4% and "the fourth year of downturn in the last five years", and Zenith forecasting a drop of 12%.

MagnaGlobal has now predicted Italy will also go into reverse, which is backed up by ZenithOptimedia's forecast of a 5% drop.

However, the UK is tipped by both agencies to escape the gloom on the continent.

ZenithOptimedia pegs the country's growth this year at 3.5%, down slightly from its 3.7% prediction in December.

MagnaGlobal has gone for 2.4%, commenting that the two big events of 2012, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games, have proven even stronger than anticipated.

Optimism remains the prevailing mood at the global prediction level, although ZenithOptimedia has downgraded its forecast from 4.8% in March, to 4.3%.

Follow Daniel Farey-Jones on Twitter @danfareyjones

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