Swiss advertising market struggling with long-term coronavirus-effects

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Highlights in February

While in the last two years the performance of the Swiss advertising market has been notably weaker in February than in January, this year it actually recovered slightly (+7.4% on the previous month), following the steep decline in January. Even so, at CHF 313.2 million gross, the total advertising spend in February 2021 was down a considerable 20.1% on the same month last year. Meanwhile, the year-to-date total of CHF 604.7 million gross was down around 28% on the previous year.

February saw six of the 21 sectors record higher advertising pressure, while, among the media groups, only radio managed a slight increase. Rather than organic growth, however, this increase in advertising pressure can be attributed to the entry of three new broadcasters into the French-speaking region of Switzerland at the beginning of the year.

Advertising Pressure in the market as a whole

Development of Advertising Pressure as per February 2021 in million francs (gross)

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Cleaning sector records further growth in advertising pressure

The cleaning sector again saw its advertising pressure increase considerably in February (+76.6%). Also on an upward trajectory were tobacco products (+43.6%), energy (+24.4%) and retail (+23.3%), all of which recorded double-digit growth when compared with the same month last year. In fact, the YTD total for retail was less than 1% below last year’s figure. The slight increase (+2.5%) recorded by the food sector meant it was only slightly down (-2.3%) on the YTD total for the same period last year. Digital and household also managed to recover slightly (both +1.2%) from January’s heavy slump.

Lockdown leaves its mark

The list of sectors that were on the defensive in advertising terms in February 2021 compared with the previous year is long. Events (-76.7%), and leisure, gastronomy and tourism (-59.6%) were, unsurprisingly, the sectors that recorded the largest percentage decreases in advertising pressure. Hot on their heels were public transport (-59%), media (-53.8%), fashion & sport (-48%), and beverages (-36.6%), which with a decrease of “just” 8.1% in January 2021 had seemed more stable. Decreases of more than 20% were also recorded by the automobiles (-28.7%), services (-27%) and finance (-22.4%) 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 February

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Top product: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

The Apple iPhone 12 Pro, which was in third place the previous month, dropped out of the Top 10 products altogether in February. Instead, a rival smartphone – the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G – shot to the top of the rankings. In second place was VW’s Caddy Cargo transporter, followed in third place by Credit Suisse and its business advisory campaign. Knorr Stocki (4) and McDonald’s (6) were the lockdown foods of choice. UPC Giga internet (5) and the Sunrise We Mobile subscription (7) continued to facilitate online ordering, while Home24.ch (8) also remained popular for home shopping. Those looking to escape from the everyday with a little luck and a lot of cash turned to Swisslos Euromillions lottery tickets (9). Meanwhile, the more realistic dreamers escaped into the world of Disney+ (10). Thanks to its new Star-branded content, the streaming service returned to the Top 10 for the first time since July 2020.

There was no significant movement among the big advertisers, with Coop, Migros and Procter & Gamble all retaining their places on the podium.

Media Mix

Media Mix for the month of February

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