World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

Global Marketing Index - March 2014

Marketing budget growth slows across Q1 2014

  • Global headline GMI dips in March, yet signals sustained improvement overall
  • European marketers trim planned budget increases in March
  • Trading conditions continue to improve at a healthy rate

Global marketing budgets continued to rise throughout the first quarter of 2014, but at a decreasing rate of growth month-on-month, according to the latest data from Warc’s Global Marketing Index.

Across all regions, the headline GMI measure –which takes into account marketers’ expectations for trading conditions and staffing levels as well as marketing budgets –recorded an index reading of 57.1 in March, a fall of 0.9 points from February(a reading of 50 indicates neutral sentiment).

This dip in the global headline figure was due mostly to a further decrease in the index for global marketing budgets. While this index continues to indicate a net monthly increase in expenditure at 54.2 in March, this represents a month-on-month decline of 1.4 points and means the index has now dropped 3.2 points since reaching an all-time high of 57.3 in December 2013.

There were strong regional variations in marketing budget expectations in March, with Europe registering a 4.0 point drop compared with February, falling to 52.4. The index in Asia Pacific also fell this month (down 1.4 points) but continues to show rising budgets on 55.1. By contrast, the index for marketing budgets in the Americas rose slightly in March, up 0.4 points to 55.5 compared with February.

The slowdown in budget expectations was the major contributing factor to an overall drop in the headline GMI for Europe, down 2.1 points to 57.0. The Americas’ headline index also declined from 59.0 in February to 57.5 in March.

Conversely, confidence in Asia Pacific grew slightly (+0.2 points) from February to 57.4. Asia Pacific is the only region where headline GMI has risen by end-Q1 2014, albeit marginally.

Globally, the outlook for trading conditions, the second of the three components of the headline GMI, continues to indicate strong optimism at 62.5, a 0.9 point rise month-on-month. The index has now recorded a global value in excess of 60.0 for the fifth consecutive month. Confidence is highest in Europe, which reported a 63.5 point index value for March (up 0.7 points), followed by Asia Pacific on 63.1 (up 1.8 points) and the Americas on 60.4 (down 0.8 points). The index for trading conditions, unlike the index for marketing budgets, has maintained steady growth throughout 2014.

In common with previous Global Marketing Index results, mobile and digital (excluding mobile) looked set to maintain strong budget growth relative to other media, although both saw monthon- month declines in March. The digital index fell by 1.8 points to 75.1, while mobile advertising’s index value of 70.3 marked a 1.3 point dip from February. Mobile budget growth is strongest in Asia Pacific at 75.0, up 3.5 points over Q1 2014 alone.

Elsewhere, TV recorded net budget growth in March with a reading of 52.0, in line with February’s index value. This comes despite a 3.0 point dip for Europe to 53.8 – although TV continues to show growth ahead of overall marketing budgets for the region. Index rises of 2.0 points for TV in both Asia Pacific (53.5) and the Americas (48.1) cancelled out the European dip.

Other traditional media fared comparatively poorly in March, with marketing budget expectations for out of home dropping 1.8 points against February to 47.9. Although both radio (45.0) and press marketing (35.6) budgets increased (by 2.7 points and 0.6 points respectively) in March, both media demonstrate a decline in budgeted spend overall.

The third and final component of the headline GMI – the index of staffing levels – declined by 2.2 points in March but still denoted improving conditions generally. Globally, the reading stood at 54.7, with the highest levels of recruitment seen in the Americas (56.6), followed by Europe (55.2) and Asia Pacific (54.0).


The Global Marketing Index results are calculated by taking the percentage of respondents that report that the activity has risen (“Increasing") and adding it to one-half of the percentage that report the activity has not changed (“Unchanged"). Using half of the “Unchanged" percentage effectively measures the bias toward a positive (above 50 points) or negative (below 50 points) index. As an example of calculating a diffusion index, if the response is 40% “Increasing," 40% “Unchanged," and 20% “Reducing," the Diffusion Index would be 60 points (40% + [0.50 x 40%]). A value of 50 indicates "no change" from the previous month.

The more distant the index is from the amount that would indicate "no change" (50 points), the greater the rate of change indicated. Therefore, an index value of 58 indicates a faster rate of increase than an index value of 53, and an index value of 40 indicates a faster rate of decrease than an index value of 45. A value of 100 indicates all respondents are reporting increased activity while 0 indicates that all respondents report decreased activity.

About the Index 
The Global Marketing Index provides a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry, by tracking current conditions among marketers.

Our global panel (1,225 members) consists of experienced executives working for brand owners, media owners, creative and media agencies and other organisations serving the marketing industry. The panel has been carefully selected to reflect trends in the three main global regions: Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.

About the Warc 
Warc is the global provider of ideas and evidence to marketing people. It has produced trusted and independent data on advertising expenditure and media costs for more than 25 years, and has partnerships with leading advertising organisations in more than 80 countries. Warc’s premium online service,, is the largest single source of intelligence for the marketing, advertising and media communities worldwide. With subscribers in over 100 countries, is a unique resource relied upon by major creative and media agency networks, market research companies, media owners, multinational advertisers and business schools, to help tackle any marketing challenge. In addition to the online service, Warc publishes five magazines, provides industry data and runs events.

To find out more about Warc, take a free trial at

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