Swiss advertising market plummets in first month of 2021

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Highlights in January

The Swiss advertising market took a nosedive in January 2021, dropping by more than a third (-34.9%) compared with the same month last year. The gross amount spent on advertising in the first month of 2021 was just CHF 291 million – 156 million less than in January 2020 and the lowest total since July 2012. The decline was experienced across all media groups and – with the exception of cleaning and beverages – all sectors.

Despite the advertising slump during the first lockdown, 2020 ended down by a relatively modest minus 14% overall; compared with this, the first month of 2021 – with the second lockdown in full swing – is indicative of the effects of the ongoing coronavirus crisis on advertising budget planning in the new year.

Advertising Pressure in the market as a whole

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

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Cleaning and beverages the only sectors to buck the trend

“Joe and Jane Public – are you wondering how best to get through the second lockdown? The answer is: stay clean and hydrated.” This was the message from the advertising environment in January 2021. Advertising pressure in the cleaning sector was up by 53% and, in the beverages sector, by a substantial 37%. It was down considerably in the other 19 branches, however, and nowhere more obviously than in the beleaguered events sector (-80.9%). But the media sector (-70.5%), leisure, gastronomy, tourism (-68.7%) and tobacco products (-64.1%) suffered too, with each losing more than two thirds of advertising pressure, compared with January 2020. Food (-7.4%), cosmetics and toiletries (-10.5%), pharmaceuticals and health (-11.3%), and telecommunications (-14.2%) got off relatively lightly in comparison.

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Top of the month

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

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McDonald’s campaign hits the top spot

The top 10 products in January constituted a colorful mix of products and sectors. The McDonald’s campaign was in the top spot, followed by Home24.ch. Ordering new furniture was best done using the new Apple iPhone 12 Pro, which was in third place. Weight Watchers, in fourth place, was helping get rid of those working-from-home pounds and fulfill New Year’s resolutions. Fifth and seventh places were occupied by new cars – the Renault Clio Hybrid and Hyundai Tucson Hybrid SUV, respectively. Sandwiched in between was the pharmaceuticals and health sector, with Triofan nasal spray. Campaigns by UPC Giga Internet, Coke and Amazon rounded off the top 10.

Media Mix

Media Mix for the month of January

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Out-of-home high wanes further in January

The high reached by out-of-home advertising in summer 2020 came to an abrupt end. The signs already evident in winter 2020 were borne out in January, in the form of a 53.1% drop. Its share of the media mix likewise slipped below 10% (9.3%) for the second time.

However, the other media groups had to contend with significant declines as well. Internet advertising was down substantially (-48.3%), as was print (-31.1%). Cinema advertising continued to be non-existent. In comparison, TV (-14.3%) and radio (-10.9%) showed only moderate losses in January 2021. As a result, TV remains the strongest media group, with a 36.2% share of the media mix, followed by print, with 26%, and internet, with 25.5%.

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