When will consumer confidence recover?

There was a sense of puzzlement at the Spends and Trends conference on Wednesday, hosted by SMI and Mumbrella with the support of ANZ BlueNotes, and it centred on consumer confidence.  Why hasn’t it picked up - and if it does, when will it flow through to the advertising and media market?

Speaking at the conference, Felicity Emmett, senior economist at ANZ Research, said the wealth effect which normally comes from a surge in property prices, such as what is currently happening in Sydney and to a lesser extent, the Melbourne market, usually led to a surge in consumer confidence.

"We're on the cusp of a number of positive trends coming together, but it feels like we’ve been waiting to see that affect consumer confidence for a while."
Felicity Emmett, Senior economist, ANZ Research

“We're on the cusp of a number of positive trends coming together, but it feels like we’ve been waiting to see that affect consumer confidence for a while,“ she told the conference.

The good news is, in 2016, Emmet believes the growth will pick up in earnest.

She also noted positive signs around business confidence, including a pickup in new lending to business and credit growth, while balance sheets are in good shape.

However, Emmet warned that non-mining capital in the economy is very low and needed to be replaced.

News sites set for ad spend boost

In further good news for the advertising and media market, the websites of major publishers are set for an advertising revenue boost over the next 12 to 24 months, as advertisers return a proportion of funds to news sites that had shifted away in recent years.

Speaking at the conference, Tristan Masters, a global director at Standard Media Index (SMI), said an advertising trend underway in the US will soon make its way to Australia, to the benefit of publishers.

He said Australian advertisers had overshot the mark in pushing a larger percentage of their funds away from traditional digital content and toward programmatic areas in recent times, but that based on what is happening in the US, that should soon correct itself.

“Proportionally, the shift has been out of content sites,” Masters told BlueNotesoutside Spends and Trends . “But I’d be willing to bet there will be an arresting of that decline, and you’ll see, proportionally, more money go back to traditional display, as a percentage of the total.”

This greater proportion of funds is set to flow to market-leading Australian like Yahoo!7, Ninemsn, News Digital and Fairfax Digital, Masters said, at an opportune time given the pickup in both consumer and business confidence.

Broadly, Masters is positive about the state of the market, and says there shouldn’t be as much doom and gloom out there as there is.

 “A slightly positive result is expected in the fourth quarter of 2014, once higher government spending in the prior period is washed out,” he told the breakfast.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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