Massive slump in Swiss advertising market in April

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April highlights

The figures are in. The Swiss advertising market was his by the full force of the coronavirus crisis in April. Only CHF 312.8 million advertising pressure – a low point for the year.
This represents a further decrease of 29.5% over the previous month which was already showing the initial impact of the lockdown. Compared to the previous year, gross advertising pressure for April, at CHF 210 million, was actually 40.2 percent lower than in 2019.
Overall gross advertising pressure for 2020 (YTD) amounts to CHF 1.6 billion. A decline of 17.2 percent.

Advertising Pressure in the market as a whole

Development of Advertising Pressure as per April 2020 in million francs (gross)

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The crisis reaches out-of-home after a delay – but hits hard

Empty streets, empty trams. Why bother with billboard advertising if hardly anyone sees it? This must have been what advertisers in Switzerland thought too. The result is 66.3 percent less advertising pressure than last year. However, the effect came with a slightly delay. Other media groups already experienced declines in gross advertising pressure back in March. An example of an OOH image campaign in Germany shows how you can convert advertising pressure into media reach with a bit of creativity. “We’d like to thank all those who can’t see this poster #STAYATHOME”. The advertiser: hohes C.
Only cinemas were more affected in April than OOH. They remained closed. The result – no advertising pressure.
Radio advertising experienced the third largest percentage reduction (-56.2%), followed by print advertising (-42.8%) and TV advertising (-38.0%). Internet advertising showed the greatest stability with “only” a quarter less advertising pressure than the previous year (-25.1%).

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Winner in the crisis: Only Tobacco products on the move

Only the tobacco industry increased its advertising year-on-year, just like it did in the previous month (+57.8%). However, this has had no influence on the overall development of the Swiss advertising market. With less than half a million Swiss francs (gross) spent on advertising, the tobacco industry accounts for just 0.1 percent.

Reduction in advertising pressure > 50 percent

The events sector has been hardest hit. Gross advertising pressure fell in April 2020 by 84.7 percent compared to 2019. This is followed by the vehicles sector – without the Geneva International Motor Show, commuter traffic and without customers' secure purchasing power, advertising pressure fell by 75.1 percent in April in this sector which is heavily reliant on billboard advertising.
Leisure, gastronomy, tourism (-64.2%), transport companies (-63.5%), energy (-55.2%) and fashion & sport (-50.5%) complete the list of sectors whose gross advertising pressure more than halved in April compared to last year.


The figures for the advertising industry after six weeks of lockdown are sobering. There is now light at the end of the tunnel with the first easing of restrictions on 11th May. It remains to be seen whether and how quickly the Swiss (advertising) economy will pick up speed again.

Advertising pressure in the sectors

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Top of the month

The top advertisers and most widely advertised products and services (excluding range and image advertising) in April:

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Media Mix

Media Mix for the month of April

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