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US to Top Japan as World’s Biggest Mobile Ad Market

Global mobile ad spending to reach $6.43 billion in 2012

NEW YORK, NY (August 1, 2012)—Spending on mobile internet advertising in the US will top all other countries in the world for the first time this year, helping drive mobile ad spending worldwide to $6.43 billion in 2012, according to eMarketer’s first-ever forecast for worldwide mobile advertising spending.

Until this year, Japan was the world’s largest market for mobile advertising, with spending reaching $1.36 billion in 2011, up from $1.01 billion in 2010.

Mobile advertising is more mature in Japan, which means growth is far lower than in North American markets. eMarketer estimates spending on mobile internet ads in Japan will grow 27.2% to $1.74 billion in 2012, versus 35.4% growth in 2011.

Mobile internet advertising spending in the US, by comparison, will grow 96.6% to $2.29 billion in 2012, up from $1.16 billion last year, according to eMarketer. As a result of this rapid growth, North America is also poised to surpass Asia-Pacific in 2013 as the world’s largest regional market for mobile advertising.

Asia-Pacific is still an exceptionally strong mobile advertising market, particularly in South Korea and Japan, keeping it far ahead of Europe in mobile spending. Mobile ad spending in Asia-Pacific will reach $2.56 billion in 2012, according to eMarketer, while mobile advertising spending in Western Europe and Eastern Europe will reach $1.3 billion and $121.1 million, respectively, this year.

“Mobile is an exciting, fast-growing category, but it’s still a very small piece of the overall ad pie,” eMarketer says. “Mobile advertising accounted for less than 1% of total ad spending worldwide last year—and it will be a long time before it challenges other mainstay global advertising channels like TV, print and internet ads.”

Key takeaways from the forecast:

  • Spending on mobile advertising in the US will top all other regions in the world for the first time in 2012
  • Mobile, despite rapid growth, accounts for just 1% of total ad spending worldwide
  • The mobile advertising market in Asia-Pacific remains far bigger than in Europe
  • Mobile advertising, though just 2.3% of total ad spending in the UK, is expected to take a record share by 2016, reaching 11% of total ad spending

eMarketer forms its estimates for mobile advertising spending worldwide through a meta-analysis of various elements related to the ad spending market, including macro-level economic conditions, historical trends of the advertising market, estimates from other research firms and consumer mobile usage trends.

Note: Mobile search ad spending includes advertising on search engines, search applications and carrier portals. Mobile display ad spending includes banners, rich media and video on WAP sites, and mobile HTML sites and embedded in-application/in-game advertising.

eMarketer benchmarks its Canada mobile ad spending projections against the IAB Canada data for which the last full year measured was 2010 and its UK mobile ad spending projections against the IAB UK/PwC data for which the last full year measured was 2011.

About eMarketer
eMarketer is the authority on digital marketing, media and commerce, offering insights essential to navigating the changing, competitive and complex digital environment. By weighing and analyzing information from different sources, eMarketer provides businesspeople, marketers and advertisers with the most complete view of digital marketing available.

Media Contact:
Clark Fredricksen
Vice President, Communications, eMarketer
Tel. 212-763-6056

Posted on August 1, 2012.