France and Germany Digital Ad Spending 2021

Lackluster Growth in 2020 Fuels a Surge This Year

Executive Summary

Overall, ad spending in Western Europe in 2020 was far lower than we had forecast prior to the pandemic. But the region’s digital ad spending rose by 9.2% year over year (YoY) to €50.03 billion ($57.05 billion) last year—close to the 10.6% growth we had predicted. In 2021, digital ad outlays will jump 18.0%.

How did COVID-19 change our forecast for digital ad spending in France?

We have decreased our 2020 growth forecast from the 11.7% we had expected pre-pandemic to just 7.0% YoY. But 2021 will see a major bounce back, as many advertisers boost investments and target consumers emerging from lockdowns. Digital ad outlays will leap 21.0% this year—well above the 11.2% we had anticipated before the pandemic.

Were digital ad outlays in Germany also depressed by the pandemic?

In Germany, as in France, digital ad spending growth was rather anemic in 2020, at 8.0%, compared with our pre-pandemic expectation of 10.0%. But it will recover dramatically this year. We’ve revised our 2021 estimate upward, from 9.0% to 20.0% YoY.

What happened to total media ad spending in France in 2020?

Our pre-pandemic forecast showed 4.0% growth, but we now estimate that spending plunged 8.4% to €11.13 billion ($12.69 billion), with traditional ad formats taking the worst hits. But total ad outlays will recover robustly in 2021, rising by 13.9% to €12.68 billion ($14.45 billion).

How will Germany’s overall ad market look this year?

Ad spending on all measured media in Germany fell last year—though not as much as it did in France. In Germany, total ad spending slipped by 3.9% to €18.41 billion ($20.99 billion) in 2020. But it should rise by 10.2% to €20.28 billion ($23.12 billion) in 2021, as one of Europe’s most resilient economies regains momentum.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report highlights our latest forecasts for ad spending in France and Germany, including on traditional, digital, and mobile media. It also looks at the pandemic’s impacts on ad spending in 2020 and 2021.

KEY STAT: In 2021, digital ad outlays in both countries will jump by double-digit rates, to reach €6.35 billion ($7.24 billion) in France and €9.49 billion ($10.82 billion) in Germany.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. How the Pandemic Changed the Ad Markets in France and Germany
  3. Digital Ad Spending in France and Germany
  1. Digital Ad Spending Trends in France and Germany
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Sources
  1. Media Gallery

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Karin von Abrams


Alina Brentnall
Researcher, Europe
Oscar Bruce Jr.
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Oscar Orozco
Director, Forecasting
Shelleen Shum
Senior Director, Forecasting

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