Cheers! Alcohol Ad Spending Seen Growing 5.3% as Bars Reopen

Cheers Bars Open Ad Spend
Bars are reopening and alcohol marketers are boosting spending (Image credit: NBC)

As bars, pubs and restaurants reopen around the world with COVID-19 restrictions being loosened, ad spending on beer and spirits brands is expected to rise by 5.3% in 12 key markets studied by media buyer Zenith.

The pandemic hit the alcohol category particularly hard, with spending down 11.6% in 2020, when overall spending decreased by 6.4%.

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“The alcohol industry has suffered more from the pandemic than most, and that was reflected in the steep drop in ad spend last year,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith. “The recovery won’t be as dramatic as the downturn, but investment in digital communication will drive steady growth in alcohol advertising for the next few years.”

Zenith’s Business Intelligence--Alcohol: Beer + Spirits report said spending on alcohol advertising is forecast to reach $7.7 billion in 2023, compared to $6.7 billion in 2020. 

Alcohol brands tend to spend twice as much on TV as the average brand, but they will be reducing their TV spending by 2.4% a year as audiences continue to erode.

Also Read: Video Entertainment Ad Spending Stable: Zenith

Digital advertising’s share of alcohol ad spend is seen rising to 30% of ad spend in 2023, up from 21% in 2019.

The report said that spirits brands have pivoted to owned online content to help consumer replicate the brand experience at home.

“With the drop in consumers visiting restaurants and bars over the past year, alcohol brands had to quickly change their marketing strategy to focus on the at-home experience,” said Lauren Hanrahan, CEO of Zenith. “There was a big shift to eCommerce, and marketers found new ways to engage audiences through social media, video, influencer marketing and other digital channels. We predict brands will continue to increase their spend on not only digital but out-of-home, as people start to go back to bars and foot traffic increases.”

The 12 markets included in the Zenith report are Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US, which account for 73% of total global ad spend.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.