Iran is forecasted to be the fastest-growing country for ad spend among 30 emerging markets, growing by $713 million between 2017 – 2020 to reach a potential $2.1 billion.

The research comes from Zenith’s ‘Thirty Rising Media Markets’ report which identifies 30 swiftly developing markets that are starting to rival the scale of 81 established markets the company regularly surveys.

Some of the 30 rising markets – which include Mozambique, Paraguay, Mongolia, Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Jamaica –  have already attracted interest from multinational advertisers and global agency groups, and others are opening up to international advertising for the first time.

Political catalyst

According to Zenith, the ad spend growth in the Middle-Eastern state is a result of the lift of international sanctions in 2016, which kickstarted Iran’s economic growth and began its reintegration into the global economy, providing a powerful stimulus to the local advertising market.

However, Zenith is quick to add that the projected growth is subject to a continuation in trade and investment, and is subject to political risk; a reimposition of sanctions would “bring it to a halt.”

Of those included in the list, Zenith notes that the markets “vary widely in population, diversity of economic activities and productivity”, but they all share a trait of growing general economies and “even faster” growing ad markets.

Africa & Asia on the up

According to the report, the second-biggest ad spend growth will come from Bangladesh, forecast to grow by $457 million between 2017 and 2020, reaching $1.31 billion – a result of economic growth of 7% a year and a 160 million population which is accelerating “substantial” scale.  

“By 2020 Bangladesh’s ad market will be more than twice the size of Pakistan’s, although Bangladesh has only 80% of Pakistan’s population,” says Zenith.

In percentage terms, the fastest-growing markets are in Africa and South Asia: Zenith forecasts 19% average annual growth in Angola, and 18% growth in Myanmar and Ethiopia; 15% annual growth is forecasted in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ghana and Iran.

On the 30 rising markets, Zenith’s global brand president, Vittorio Bonori, said; “These thirty rising ad markets may be small now, but they are rapidly becoming richer with fast-growing demand for consumer goods.”

Ripe for business

This provides “great potential” for brand growth for early entrants, which have the opportunity to establish a brand with relatively little competition.

“While the global ad market remains stuck at 4% annual growth, these markets are growing dynamically,” adds Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting and director of global intelligence; “They are becoming too big to ignore – by 2020 they will collectively overtake the ad spend in Australia, the world’s seventh largest ad market.”

The 30 countries included in this report are: Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Paraguay, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.