Advertising year 2023 characterized by consolidation and gradual change

According to the advertising market trend from Media Focus, the "traditional" advertising market will reach CHF 3.95 billion in gross advertising expenditure in 2023, which corresponds to a minimal decline of -1.1%. However, the increase in specific areas such as out-of-home advertising, radio and cinema shows a diverse and adaptive market structure. The dominance of large players remains.

Media Focus

Out-of-home advertising is once again growing in popularity (+16.3%) and is cushioning the decline in TV (-8.3%) and print (-3.6%). Radio and cinema advertising also increased (5.1% and 9.0% respectively) - albeit at a significantly lower level in absolute terms.

The order in the media mix remains unchanged, but the media are moving closer together. TV (36%; -3% points) and print (35%, -1% point) are at the top, ahead of out-of-home with 22% (+3% points), radio (6%, +1% point) and cinema (0.8%).

Looking at the world of online marketing, display ads (CHF 536 million, +4.7%) and YouTube ads (CHF 305 million, +8.8%) continue to grow, although no longer at double-digit percentage rates as in previous years. The figures show that digital advertising formats are continuing to gain in importance, even if the pace of growth is slowing slightly compared to previous years.

(Graphics: Media Focus)

In the Search segment, a direct comparison with the previous year is problematic due to the ongoing adjustments and updates that Google made, particularly in the second half of 2023. These continuous changes, which were also documented in detail in the media, led to significant fluctuations in the search results. Therefore, no meaningful direct comparison can be made with 2022. However, despite its dynamic nature, 2023 itself provides a basis for internal comparisons and analyses.

Coop, Migros and P&G lead the way - not everyone follows

Coop continues to hold the top position in terms of advertising share (SoA% Top 20: 28%) with a slight decline compared to the previous year (-2%). Migros (2) follows in second place with 16%, also with a slight decline (-5%). Procter & Gamble in third place and Swisscom in sixth place have also significantly reduced their traditional advertising pressure in percentage terms (-19% and -17% respectively), but have maintained their positions. Ferrero in 4th place and L'Oréal in 5th place also remain unchanged, despite slightly higher advertising pressure than in 2022 (+3% and +6% respectively).

However, four companies have invested more and have been rewarded for this in the ranking. Henkel and Beiersdorf each moved up eight places compared to the previous year, Ikea jumped from 13th to 7th place and Galaxus moved up three places and is now in the top 10.

Jumbo recorded the largest percentage increase in the top 20 following the merger with Coop Bau+Hobby, with an increase of 93%. This catapults the DIY store from 41st to 15th place. Unilever and Nestlé, both with increases of just under 40%, are now back in the top 20. McDonald's, Lidl, Denner, Interdiscount, Sunrise and Aldi are reducing their traditional advertising pressure in 2023. As a result, the first five companies mentioned will lose their top 10 position. Aldi falls from 15th to 20th place, while Sunrise will see the biggest percentage reduction of 36%.

Retailers are also the measure of all things when it comes to display ads. Migros and Coop lead the way, but with Lidl and Denner there are four in the top 10. In addition to the Swiss "institutions", Swisscom, UBS and Swiss Post, new companies appear in the ranking with Swisslos, Philipp Morris and Google.

On YouTube, "entertainment" companies dominate the ranking - TikTok at the top, Nintendo, Disney and Universal. Smile Direct, surprisingly strong in second place, ahead of Beiersdorf. Migros, Lindt & Sprüngli and Coop also make it into the top 10.

Search as a pull rather than a push medium reflects the needs of Swiss people. Travel is mainly booked online on platforms such as (1), (3) and (9). Purchases are also made on (2), Galaxus (4), (8) and (10). Price comparisons are also made on Comparis (6). and, in 5th and 7th place, almost fall out of line here as brands.

Vehicle industry picks up speed again in 2023

2023 is a good year for the vehicle industry. The industry, which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic and supply bottlenecks, grew by 21.2% and climbed three places to fifth place. Jeep and Škoda each have a product in the top 10 newly advertised products in 2023 - both electric SUVs.

In percentage terms, only transportation companies (+22.8%) and tobacco products (+82.1%) grew faster than the vehicle sector. The latter also has a product in the top 10, the Iqos tobacco heating system, but this does not lead to any change in rank, unlike events (+3.3%), pharmaceuticals & health (+1.5%) and cleaning (+14.2%). Fashion & Sport benefited from the traditionally more defensive advertising behavior of the telecommunications sector (-18.1%) and climbed one place despite a minimal reduction (-0.8%).

In terms of online focus, the ranking list for the sectors paints a different picture. The telecommunications industry, which is only ranked 15th in the traditional market, shines in turquoise for display, YouTube and search ads, as it is ranked 8th, 5th and 9th respectively, more than 4 places higher than in the ranking of traditional channels.

At the top of the industry ranking (traditional channels), there were no changes in the top four places and only deviations in advertising pressure (-3.9% to 3.3%). Food remains ahead of retail, ahead of initiatives & campaigns and the financial sector. The latter impresses with top marks in the online ranking. 2nd place for display and search ads. On the gold podium for YouTube.

Gradual change in the advertising market

The year 2023 marks a phase of consolidation and gradual change in the Swiss advertising market. Despite the slight decline in the traditional advertising market, the increase in specific areas such as out-of-home advertising, radio and cinema shows a diverse and adaptive market structure. The continuous strengthening of online marketing channels such as display and YouTube ads underlines the growing importance of digital advertising strategies, even if the pace of growth is flattening out compared to previous years.

The changes in search engine marketing, especially at Google, reflect the constantly evolving technologies and user behavior. This requires companies to continuously adapt and optimize their online presence and search engine strategies.

The dominance of major players such as Coop, Migros and P&G in the traditional advertising market remains, while other brands are rising in the rankings, which shows the dynamism and competitiveness of the market. The strong presence of retailers in display ads and the dominance of entertainment companies in YouTube ads illustrate different strategic orientations in different advertising channels.

The automotive sector is making a comeback, indicating a recovery from the pandemic-related setbacks. The telecommunications industry shows an interesting discrepancy between its presence in traditional and online media.

Overall, 2023 offers important insights into the changing priorities and strategies in the Swiss advertising market. The ability to adapt and the willingness to innovate will continue to be crucial in order to be successful in a rapidly changing digital ecosystem. Whether everyone will succeed in 2024 remains to be seen. On a positive note, various market players expect the advertising market in 2024 to be at roughly the same level as in 2023.

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