Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
weCAN, the network of independent advertising agencies of Central and Eastern Europe published its 6th annual report called CANnual Report on the 19th of November. The report features the detailed analysis of advertising markets in 15 Central and Eastern European countries with a focus on CSR-communication. Besides analyzing the development of the market in each CEE country through compiled data and articles by local experts, the report showcases articles by regional industry leaders such as Eszter Gyapay, Client Director of Kantar and Marija Tomac, Head of Communications and Storytelling of Greenpeace CEE. Although the report sums up the results of 2019, the coronavirus shook up the markets in 2020 so heavily that a short summary of the experienced rupture of each CEE market regarding the March-May period of 2020 was also included.
Steady growth in 2019
The report reveals that the past year meant economic stability for the whole region, the growing trend of the past 5 years continued, and advertising spending increased by 9.8%, reaching net 15.2 billion Euros in 2019.
The average share of media types within the whole spending pie also reflects the trends of past years very well: although television remains the favorite media type in most Central and Eastern European countries, it is slowly losing its share (43% in 2019) to the online segment that has been expanding dynamically, reaching the average of 34% of all countries. Looking at the total amount spent in the region, digital has already surpassed television in 2018, meaning in 45% of all advertising budgets (6.9 billion Euros) in 2019 were spent online, whereas only 37% was allocated to television. Print has been in a constant decline for years, while OOH and radio are keeping their positions.
Rising awareness – with limitations
The social awareness regarding environmental and social problems is on the rise: according data commissioned by the European Commission, the number of people who consider environment protection, climate and energy issues one of the two most important issues their country is facing at present grew by 80% over the course of just one year. This puts an increasing amount of responsibility on companies that are also expected to be a part of the solution, so local advertising experts assess where trends are heading in the CEE region.
Though the level of awareness differs from country to country, one clear division is visible along financial situation and social status: the segmentation of societies based on ESOMAR status shows that the better the quality of life in a country is, the higher expectations are about the ethical behavior of companies.
The financial angle of this support proves to be important in another aspect as well. The results coming from the two questions “It is important that companies act ethically” and “I would pay more for environmentally friendly products” are quite different. When sustainability requires financial sacrifice, it has 25% less supporters compared to the attitude when it is merely about an abstract moral commitment.
Companies in the Central Eastern European region, to where the notion of CSR was brought by multinational companies in the 90s have been supporting social causes since, but it still has more limitations than in the West. Due to “the socialist heritage, there is a general perception that social responsibility and social caring is the primary role of the government, thus the existing «corporate social responsibility gap» between the two European regions,” states Justyna Fijalkowska and Małgorzata Macuda in their study CSR Reporting Practices in Poland.
The CSR-programs of companies have targeted local causes such as the refugees of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict in 2014, the emigration of Bulgarian youth and the question of religion in Serbia after the Yugoslav Wars, but weCAN experts had unanimously experienced environment protection to be the most popular CSR-topic – until the coronavirus pandemic appeared. This shifted the attention to the healthcare system and frontline workers.
Rattled by the virus
The lockdowns initiated after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide induced new patterns of consumer behavior: staple food, hygiene products and health supplements came to the center of attention, and shopping habits drastically changed.
Circumstances played to the advantage of online channels: sales and content consumption skyrocketed, catalyzing the digital shift of the region during a record-breaking short amount of time: only a couple of weeks. The internet traffic soared during lockdown, and looking at the audience of the top 5 domestic sites, the average of the regional year-on-year growth in March-May was 5% (compared to 2019).
In terms of consumption time and the number of viewers, television was also a winner of this situation, the regional average growth-rate reached 16% in time spent watching TV (ATV). Age groups with the highest increase usually spend less time in front of the screen: children between 4-12 years and teenagers aged 13-17.
Shifting positions in advertising
The boom in media consumption did not reflect in the advertising market due to the exceptional uncertainty after the outbreak – regarding campaigns. Right after the lockdown, a major part of ongoing and planned campaigns was canceled or postponed, causing the regional advertising spending to shrink by 19% between March and May, compared to the previous year.
Not every sector was affected equally, FMCG, pharma and telco brands maintained their presence, while the event, tourism and automotive sectors drastically shrank, and those who cater online services and digital entertainment – along with manufacturers of detergents and disinfectants – strengthened their position.