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Mobile advertising spend more than doubles in a year as consumer goods turn it into a proper retail channel, benchmark suggests

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Fuelled by smartphone penetration exploding, mobile advertising now accounts for 14% of digital ad spend in the UK, up from just 7% in 2012 and now accounting for some £429.2 million in the first half of 2013 from £188.1 million in the first half of 2012 – and consumer goods are driving the boom.

According to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC, with UKOM-approved comScore consumer data published last week, Total mobile display advertising (including video) increased like-for-like by 195% to £150.5 million in the first half of 2013. Thus, mobile now accounts for 20.4% of total digital display advertising.

For the first time, consumer goods became the biggest spender on mobile display, almost doubling its share in a year – from 14.5% to 26.8% in the first half of 2013. It overtook the long-time number one category, entertainment & media, whose share stayed at 22.9%.

Driven by mobile display and video, the consumer goods sector extended its dominance over the finance sector as the biggest spender on digital display advertising, overall – accounting for 18.2% in the first half of 2013 compared to 15.8% a year earlier. Finance’s share dropped from 15.8% to 13.7%. Consumer good’s share has more than doubled in four years – up from 8.1% in the first half of 2009.

Anna Bartz, Senior Manager at PwC, says: “The fact that consumer goods – such as food, clothing and jewellery – account for over one quarter of mobile display advertising shows how important brands regard smartphones as key to consumer buying behaviour. Mobile has moved on from being a communications or entertainment device to a bona fide retail one. It’s an interesting contrast to how dominant entertainment has become on ‘fixed’ devices such as computers and laptops.”

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