More from James Mitchell’s presentation last week:
Checks with large online buyers confirm the obvious – that discretionary and some lending-oriented financial verticals remain weak. Also, we do not forecast a speedy recovery of the auto sector, though comments from overseas manufacturers are encouraging, with brands such as Audi planning to double its online ad budget this year, despite sales trends.
Also encouraging are announcements from players in the hardest-hit verticals moving all ad spending online. For example, Century 21 Real Estate recently committed to moving 100% of its national ad campaigns to the Internet.
Surprisingly, financial categories such as insurance, refinancing, and deposit accounts remain strong, as financial institutions seek to raise capital and take share in fee-based businesses.
Also, education and books categories have been growing recently, with textbook retailers and continuing-education institutions such as the University of Phoenix seeking to capture counter-cyclical demand.
Mitchell also identified travel as a potential area of weakness as airlines cut back capacity. However, he noted that there is a lot of hotel inventory currently in development that would come online over the next two years. These new hotels and resorts would likely drive travel advertising to recover.
One other area that Mitchell noted may change in the future was pharmaceutical spending. While this has been holding up very well so far, he noted that some changes that the Obama administration is contemplating may limit pharmaceutical companies ability to advertise their products.
Other attendees noted entertainment advertising (particularly movies), advocacy advertising (political issue based advertising) and CPG (consumer packaged goods) as areas that are showing continued strength, and “green” as an area that could potentially show weakness.