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Borrell Forecasts Healthy Growth For Local Media In 2024.

U.S. Local advertising will grow a healthy 4.4% in 2024, to $157.1 billion, according to a new forecast issued today (Sept. 15) by Borrell Associates. While demand for digital formats will drive much of the growth – digital audio is forecast to grow 8% – the forecast shows that traditional forms of media appear to be stabilizing. On top of that, Borrell’s recent Business Barometer showed a strong uptick in optimism about the holiday shopping season and about the economy in general.

“I wouldn’t exactly call it a return to traditional media,” said Corey Elliott, Borrell’s chief forecaster, “but there does seem to be renewed interest in it. That may be because local businesses are gaining more marketing experience and see the possibilities beyond simple, inexpensive digital campaigns.”

Borrell released its 2024 forecasts Friday for all U.S. markets.

Digital advertising formats are forecast to grow 6.0% – lower than this year’s projected 7.1% – while non-digital advertising formats are forecast to grow 0.4%, after a decline of 4.9% this year.

Among the forecast highlights:

  • Digital video and audio formats, forecast to grow 9.3% and 7.7%, respectively

  • Local broadcast TV, up 9%

  • Paid Search Listings Sites, growing 8%

  • Out of Home, up 3.4%

  • Direct Mail, up 1.7%

  • Cinema advertising, up 2%

The forecasts call for a moderation in declines for some traditional forms of media, including newspapers, cable, and radio. Borrell is forecasting a 4% decline in print newspaper advertising in 2024, coming off a 7.8% decline this year. Cable advertising’s decline slows from 5.6% this year to a forecasted 3.2% next year, and radio’s decline slows from 2.8% this year to 2.3% in 2024.

“It’s a slight but noticeable shift for traditional forms of print and broadcast media,” Elliott said. “It may be due to the fact local businesses have been gaining marketing expertise over the past several years, handling their own websites and social pages. Our surveys consistently show that, the more marketing expertise someone has, the more likely they are to use print, broadcast, or outdoor media.”

In August, Borrell’s quarterly SMB Business Barometer showed panelists’ pessimism about the economy had fallen to a level not seen since 2018 – two years before the pandemic. The August panel also showed a fairly low level of 13% saying they planned to cut ad spending in the last half of the year. That’s the lowest in five years of surveys.

Longer range, Borrell is forecasting that traditional forms of media will continue to decline, but at roughly half the rate they experienced in the past four years. Since 2019, the average annual decline for traditional media advertising was 4.5%; over the next four years, Borrell is forecasting average annual declines of 2.3%. Growth in spending for digital advertising is expected to slow, from an average annual rate of 8.3% between 2019 and 2023 to 4.4% growth from 2024-2027.

Borrell will outline its full forecasts during a webinar Thursday, Sept. 21, at pm ET. Register HERE.

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