Monday, January 5, 2009

eMarketer: Seven Predictions for 2009

As we step tentatively into the new year, prospects look pretty grim. With unemployment predicted to top 9%, industry bailouts looming, a massive retrenchment in the stock market and a generally accepted view that things aren’t likely to get better any time soon, it will be all too easy to slide into a state of cynicism, or even despair. eMarketer has made seven predictions for 2009. Not all of them are positive, mind you, but there can be some comfort in quantifying the pain we all know is coming.

1. Marketers will be cutting back on advertising spending this year.

2. Among traditional media, newspapers, radio and magazines will see the worst declines.

3. Advertisers’ pull-back in overall marketing spending, coupled with a serious re-examination of traditional media, will set in motion a series of permanent changes that will affect how media is planned and measured, as well as the media mix itself.

4. Throughout all this economic shrinkage, the Internet will continue to grow, though at a far more constrained pace. eMarketer projects online ad spending will rise 8.9% in 2009, after an already ratcheted-down rate of 11.3% in 2008.

5. Despite the general consensus that online will ride out the storm, expect to see a growing contingent of bearish forecasters disparaging its prospects.

6. Growth in online display advertising will languish -- but only in terms of absolute-dollar spending, and the effects will be temporary.

7. E-commerce, already hammered in 2008, will see growth slip even further, from 7.2% in 2008 to a measly 4.1% in 2009.

Beyond the seven predictions discussed above, the most important theme to keep in mind is that things will get better, eventually. Whether the curtain lifts in late 2009 or some time after, the economy will most assuredly come out of hibernation. And when it does, it will be the stronger for it.

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