Spending on traditional advertising such as print media including newspapers and magazines is showing an on-going decline, according to new market data, although the decrease appears to be less than in previous years.

The drop in traditional advertising funding is directly contrasted to an ongoing increase in spending on non-traditional advertising such as through digital media including on mobile device apps. According to eMarketer, companies are expected to spend almost $80 billion in total media spending (traditional and non-traditional) in 2016 and that will increase to $90 billion in 2017, underscoring the ongoing importance of advertising.

Companies looking to advertise in Chinese markets must understand these trends when developing their advertising budgets and marketing plans, and decide which type of advertising will bring the best rewards.

The most recent information on the shift in advertising spending is highlighted in a November report from Kantar CTR Market Research. That study found that spending on traditional media in the third quarter, or Q3, or 2016 declined 5.5 percent compared to the same quarter in 2016. However, although the spending continues to decline, it appears to be doing so at a slower rate than before. The drop in spending on traditional advertising between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016 was less than the decline recorded between Q3 2014 and Q3 2015, according to the report.

ads-chinaThe drop in traditional advertising spending at the expense of an increase in digital and other types of advertising should not come as a surprise, as the trend has been observed for several years.

The global consulting firm McKinsey & Company noted back in June 2013 that while television remains a constantly popular advertising option at roughly 40 percent of the market, the amount of print advertising has been on a noticeable decline dating as far back as 2007. During the same period, internet advertising showed a significant growth to the point where it was projected by 2016 to be worth more than the combined values of print advertising and “out of home” advertising, which the firm says includes billboards and elevator posters.

Kantar CTR Market Research’s new report proves that the predictions were accurate, and might help companies looking to promote their products in China decide to focus on digital advertising strategies.

ads-china-2However, eMarketer also notes that the same report also finds that advertising funding for some non-print types of more traditional advertising are showing signs of improvement.

For example, it says that on-screen advertising at cinemas before the start of movies has shown an almost 60 percent increase in Q3 2016 compared to Q3 2015. In addition, it found that elevator advertising increased by more than 20 percent from Q3 to 2015 to Q3 2016, suggesting growth in that market.

Advertsing in China at the Digital Age

Although several types of advertising in China are experiencing increased spending, these figures are expected to slow eventually — and some might eventually show decline similar to print advertising. As a result, businesses need to carefully assess their advertising strategies and perhaps consider an approach that relies heavily on digital advertising but that is backed up by some traditional print or other advertising.

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