August 3, 2012, 9:19 AM

China edges closer to the United States in online advertising

By 2014 it will be the second-largest online ad spender, at $11.78 billion, says eMarketer.

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China in 2014 will eclipse the United Kingdom to become the second-largest source of online advertising in the world after the United States, according to a new forecast from eMarketer. Chinese online ad spending will reach $11.78 billion in 2014, compared with $11.25 billion for the United Kingdom. Online ad spending in the United States will stand at $52.80 billion. 

“The underlying big reason that China is growing so fast across the board is that you have a massive burgeoning middle class in the country and it’s a really big audience with enormous and growing spending power—and that is very attractive to a lot of advertisers,” says an eMarketer spokesman. 

Moreover, those consumers are increasingly using the Internet. EMarketer says China is home to 500 million Internet users—more Internet users than there are people in the United States (314 million).

China’s online ad spending stands at $7.36 billion, and will increase 28.1% in 2013 to reach $9.43 billion. In the United States, online ad spending will increase 17.7%, to $46.50 billion in 2013, from $39.50 billion now. In the United Kingdom, online ad spending will increase 10.1%, to $9.51 billion in 2013, from $8.64 billion now. 

The forecast also predicts:

• The entire Asia-Pacific region, led by China’s rapid growth in ad spending, will pass Western Europe to become the second-largest region in the world for online ad spending in 2013. Asia-Pacific will spend $33.57 billion on online ads next year, above Western Europe with $31.17 billion and below North America with $50.02 billion (of which the United States accounts for $46.50 billion). 

Following are eMarketer’s estimates in billions of dollars for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 online ad spending for various geographic regions, with their growth rates from 2012.

North America: $42.61, $50.02 (17.2%), $56.68 (33.0%), $61.76 (44.9%), $66.55 (56.2%)

Western Europe: $27.96, $31.17 (11.5%), $34.88 (24.7%), $38.12 (36.3%), $41.05 (46.8%)

Asia-Pacific: $27.63, $33.57 (21.5%), $39.79 (44.0%), $46.23 (67.3%), $53.16 (92.4%)

Eastern Europe: $4.68, $5.73 (22.4%), $6.62 (41.5%), $7.48 (59.8%), $8.15 (74.1%)

Latin America: $3.62, $4.43 (22.4%), $5.67 (56.6%), $6.69 (84.8%), $7.68 (112.2%)

Middle East & Africa: $0.84, $1.24 (47.6%), $1.71 (103.6%), $2.22 (164.3%), $2.81 (234.5%)

•Total online ad spending worldwide this year will reach $107.33 billion, or about a fifth of total ad spending worldwide. The rate of increase in global online ad spending will also be slightly higher this year than last, 21.3% compared with 21.1%, though it will slow to 10.4% by 2016, eMarketer predicts.

•Brazil’s rapid growth will lead online ad spending for Latin America, with $2.45 billion in Brazil and $4.43 in Latin America in 2013, rising to $4.13 billion in Brazil and $7.68 billion in Latin America in 2016.

•The United Kingdom this year will spend one in three advertising dollars on online marketing. An eMarketer spokesman says this is notable since, in most markets, TV ad spending dominates; it’s perhaps partially explained by the fact that the most popular network on U.K. TV is the government-sponsored, advertisement-free BBC. 

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