China Digital Ad Spending Update Q2 2020

Despite a Major Downshift, China Will Eke Out Positive Growth

About This Report
Amid unprecedented recessionary headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic, China’s total ad spending will downshift considerably, but remain in positive territory at 0.4% growth. This will make it the only national market we cover to see net growth this year. Digital ad spending in China, meanwhile, will grow by 5.0%.

Executive Summary

Despite a dramatic deceleration caused by the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing recession, China’s total ad spending will remain in positive territory in 2020, with 0.4% growth. This makes it the only national market we cover that will see net growth this year. Digital ad spending in China will fare better, with 5.0% growth.

How much will the pandemic affect overall advertising in China this year?

Although we estimate that China will see $5.73 billion less new spending on digital ads this year than anticipated, its $75.33 billion total will still easily rank China as the second-largest market worldwide for digital advertising. Overall ad spend will total $105.25 billion, which is $8.42 billion less than expected.

How does China compare with other markets?

China’s total ad spending on digital and traditional advertising will exceed Western Europe’s combined spending for the first time ever this year. By 2024, China will shoot past the $150 billion mark, far exceeding Western Europe’s combined total at that point ($127.90 billion), but still dramatically trailing overall ad spending in the US.

What will happen with search, display and video ads?

We forecast that 62.0% of China’s digital advertising will go to display this year, and 35.4% to search. Concurrently, display advertising will grow by 6.6%, while search is expected to grow more slowly, at 3.5%. Video ad spending will grow by only 1.5% in 2020, a huge decline from the standout figures of recent years.

Is mobile still dominant?

Yes. Mobile ad spending will outperform all other categories this year, at 13.0% growth. Mobile will represent 63.6% of all ad dollars spent, and an overwhelming 88.9% of digital ads.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report features our Q2 2020 forecast for overall ad spending in China, including breakouts for digital, mobile and traditional ad spend, and how the pandemic has affected our numbers.

KEY STAT: Pre-pandemic, digital ad spending in China was forecast to rise 13.0% in 2020. We now estimate it will rise only 5.0%, to $75.33 billion.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. An Overview of Our Latest China Ad Spending Forecast
  3. How the Coronavirus Has Changed China’s Ad Spending
  1. The Digital Landscape: Display, Search, Video and Mobile
  2. Traditional Media Takes a Big Hit
  3. Divergence Among the Major Players
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Read Next
  3. Media Gallery

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Ethan Cramer-Flood


Brian Lau
Digital Apprentice

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