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Zenith: Iran leads adspend growth in 30 rising media markets

Here at Zenith we’ve been tracking the world’s main ad markets for our quarterly Advertising Expenditure Forecasts for the last 30 years. Over this time some of these markets have changed so much that they are unrecognisable as their former selves.

In 1987, China’s ad market was a backwater worth US$162 million a year, 0.1 per cent of the global total. This year we expect Chinese adspend to reach US$85 billion, or 15 per cent of total global adspend. So it’s worth keeping track of the small but fast-growing markets!

That’s the idea behind our Thirty Rising Media Markets report – to identify 30 up-and-coming advertising markets that are developing rapidly and are becoming globally important. Some of the 30 rising markets have already attracted interest from multinational advertisers and global agency groups, and others are opening up to international advertising for the first time. They vary widely in population, diversity of economic activities and productivity, but their economies are all growing rapidly, in the long run at least, and their advertising markets are growing even faster.

Zenith 30 rising media markets ()

The markets that we settled on were Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Paraguay, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

In US dollar terms, Iran is by some distance the fastest growing of the markets. We predict that adspend in Iran will grow by US$713 million between 2017 and 2020, to reach US$2,117 million. The lifting of international sanctions in January 2016 kick-started Iran’s economic growth and began its reintegration into the global economy, providing a powerful stimulus to the local advertising market. This stimulus depends on continued growth in trade and investment, and is subject to political risk – reimposition of sanctions would bring it to a halt.

The second-biggest growth in adspend will come from Bangladesh, which we forecast to grow by US$457 million between 2017 and 2020, reaching US$1,311 million. Bangladesh’s economy is growing at a healthy seven per cent a year, and with over 160 million inhabitants it is achieving substantial scale. By 2020 Bangladesh’s ad market will be more than twice the size of Pakistan’s, although Bangladesh has only 80 per cent of Pakistan’s population.

Advertising expenditure in these 30 markets totalled US$9.7bn in 2017, 12.7 per cent more than in 2016, while the global ad market as a whole grew by four per cent. Over the next three years we expect them to grow at an average rate of 12.4 per cent, three times faster than the world average growth rate of 4.1 per cent.  By 2020 we forecast they will generate a total of US$13.8bn in advertising expenditure, having grown by US$4.1bn since 2017. 29 per cent of this growth will come from Iran and Bangladesh.

In percentage terms, the fastest-growing markets are in Africa and south Asia: we forecast 19 per cent average annual growth in Angola, and 18 per cent growth in Myanmar and Ethiopia. We forecast 15 per cent annual growth in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ghana and Iran.

Now, we don’t expect any of these markets to rival China in either growth or scale over the next three decades, but we do expect them to continue to grow well ahead of the global ad market over a sustained period. And in a few years, some of them will have regular places in the media budgets of multinational advertisers.

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