COVID-19’s Impact on Marketing Spending—and the Channel Unlikely to Be Affected

Spending on marketing since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown began has dropped across nearly every channel. According to a report from Winterberry Group, the predicted reductions in marketing spending for Q2 2020 range from 10 percent to 75 percent.

The area taking the biggest hit is experiential and sponsorship; the report forecasts a 75 percent drop in marketing spending in those areas, due in large part to the cancellation of major business and sporting events, including the 2020 Summer Olympics. Spending on direct mail is predicted to drop 30 to 45 percent, while display could see a decrease of 20 to 40 percent. Linear TV, paid social, and search may all declines in the 20 to 35 percent range.

Digital video (e.g. OTT, streaming) is likely to see less of a reduction in spending, only 10 to 20 percent, due to high consumer consumption, according to the report. The outlier? Email, which is likely to remain flat. The report suggests that although email volume is increasing, the channel is experiencing price compression.

The report also forecasts short- and long-term changes in several industries. Retail and automotive, for example, are likely to experience an acceleration in the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping. Financial services could see a lasting increase in the use of digital payments. And, the entertainment industry could experience a permanent shift to the way new movies are released.

At the same time, as restrictions lift, we’ll also see a few industries experience some bounce-back, the report predicts; for instance, healthcare could see a return of elective surgeries (though this could be hampered by consumers’ economic reset) and travel could experience some cautious resurgence—52 percent of Americans are eager to travel once the COVID-19 restrictions lift.

One certainty, though, is the continued uncertainty. Consequently, 67 percent of agency and brand decision-makers have yet to decide how they’ll adjust spending in Q3 and Q4 2020.

This article originally appeared on MKTGinsight.