The figure comes amid an ongoing shift to digital in the advertising sector, with out-of-home (OHH) advertising becoming more popular after digital OOH surpassed traditional outdoor for the first time last year.

Speculation over Britain’s exit from the EU and the impact it may have on the digital advertising industry as a whole has got experts expressing key concerns.

“The current reality is that, in the first quarter of 2019, overall spend has flat-lined (or possibly declined); it is likely that further Brexit-related uncertainty, or a no-deal scenario, would prolong the flat – or even declining – market, while digital advertising will continue to grow, albeit at a much-reduced velocity compared to recent years,” said Hugo Drayton, CEO of Inskin Media.

However, the report stated optimism remains on good levels, while appetite for mergers and acquisitions remains confident.

Challenges ahead

A selection of chief executives and chief marketing officer-level clients Barclays spoke to cited in-housing and talent acquisition as two key areas of challenge for the year ahead. In addition, experts were also taking caution to their relationship with platforms such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

With the Google-Facebook duopoly accounting for 58% of the $111bn global digital advertising market, some of the experts consulted encouraged agencies to keep some distance and ensure they retain their objectivity and discretion.

“It feels like adtech is slightly pushed to the sidelines, which is a mistake as it is transforming advertising and can be another real growth engine for the UK economy,” Sean Duffy, head of TMT at Barclays Corporate Banking; “Adtech is already helping UK businesses compete on the global stage and will continue to allow brands to market themselves more effectively as further technology advances are harnessed.”

Ad spend in the US increasing

It appears that the US is experiencing similar trends as eMarketer reported for the first time that digital ad spending will surpass traditional ad spending by $20 billion with total ad spend to reach $129.34 in 2019.

According to the forecast, digital now accounts for 54.% of total US ad spending with mobile making more than two-thirds of digital ad spending, totalling $87 billion.