The Swiss advertising market – one year on from the first lockdown

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Highlights in March

The Swiss advertising market felt the initial effects of the coronavirus crisis in mid-March 2020. One year later, in March 2021, the industry has experienced a sharp upswing in fortunes again compared to January (+48.5%) and February (+38.0%), just as it did in the third month of the previous year. Even so, at CHF 433.3 million, the value of the Swiss advertising market remains just shy of what it was the previous year (-2.3%).

As a result, the first quarter is 19% lower than the equivalent value in 2020 and a remarkable 40% lower than the equivalent in 2019.

Advertising Pressure in the market as a whole

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

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Automotive sector more active in the ad market despite no Geneva Motor Show

As was the case last year, the automotive sector could not rely on the Geneva Motor Show to showcase its products in March 2021. In 2020, this led to a 41.1% decline in comparison to 2019. This time around, the industry has managed to increase its advertising pressure significantly (36.1%), putting it at a level comparable to the years prior to the coronavirus. The industry is responsible for two products in the top 10 ad campaigns, too: both were launched by the car dealer AMAG, with a focus on out-of-home advertising.

Another sector that was able to increase its advertising pressure in March was the tobacco industry. One of the few sectors resilient enough to build on its advertising activities in March 2020 (+24.2%), this year it has managed to increase its advertising pressure by 173.2% – thanks primarily to the campaign for the IQOS heated tobacco system by Philip Morris.

Construction, industry and furnishings is the other sector that was able to increase its advertising pressure by more than 20% (+22.5%) in March 2021.

Six sectors reduce ad pressure by 20%

Last year, recreation, gastronomy and tourism took the top spot in the industry list; in the year to date, the crisis has caused the sector to fall to 10th in the ranking. Following a 40% decline in advertising pressure in 2020, this trend has continued in March 2021 (-22.4%). The easing of the lockdown rules in April may allow the sector to regain some of the ground it has lost.

The financial sector has also seen its advertising pressure fall by 33.8% in March 2021. This decline is evident across all product groups – from investing to pensions. The mildest fall was experienced by basic products (-9.6%).

The list of branches whose advertising pressure has fallen by more than 20% also includes public transport (-58.1%), events (-48.1%), media (-34.0%) and services (-25.7%).

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Top of the month

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

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April 2020 marked the biggest slump (-40%) experienced by the Swiss advertising market. It remains to be seen how the coming easing of lockdown measures will influence the advertising market in April 2021.

Media Mix

Media Mix for the month of March

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