Revealed! Australia’s Top 20 Ad Spenders, As Media Category Spend Soars 26% YOY

Revealed! Australia’s Top 20 Ad Spenders, As Media Category Spend Soars 26% YOY

Harvey Norman is once again Australia’s biggest advertiser in terms of dollars spent according to the latest Nielsen Ad Intel data.

The furniture-electrical retailer spent a massive $165.4 million on its advertising in 2019.

One of the surprises on the list of top 20 spenders was Clive Palmer, who splashed a cool $58.6 million during last year’s federal election and still never won a seat. That made the portly ex-pollie the 16th biggest ad spender for 2019.

Woolworths outspent rival Coles by $117.6 million to $90.7 million, respectively.

Toyota ($88.5 million) was the biggest auto spender and Macca’s ($82.5 million) was the biggest fast-food spender.

The federal government spent $94.2 million on ads in 2019, while the Andrews government in Victoria wasn’t far behind with $80.7 million of its own.

When it came to categories, retail received the most ad dollars with a whopping $1.8 billion spent on trying to coax consumers into shops or to shop online. However, that was down five per cent YOY.

Of the top 20 categories, the one to receive the biggest YOY growth in ad dollars was media. This category grew 26 per cent to $384.1 million in 2019. Within the media category, subscription TV services reported the most spend.

The categories that saw the largest fall for ad spends were real estate (down 31.4 per cent) and energy and water down 25 per cent.

Australia’s top 20 individual advertisers were:

  1. Harvey Norman Holdings – $165.4 million
  2. Woolworths – $117.6 million
  3. Wesfarmers – $107.8 million
  4. The federal government – $94.2 million
  5. Foxtel – $91.2 million
  6. Coles Group – $90.7 million
  7. Toyota Motor Group – $88.5 million
  8. McDonald’s Restaurants – $82.5 million
  9. Government of Victoria – $80.7 million
  10. Suncorp Group – $74.8 million
  11. Telstra – $69.9 million
  12. Government of NSW – $62.5 million
  13. Reckitt Benckiser – $61.6 million
  14. CBA – $61.4 million
  15. Inspiring Vacations – $59.8 million
  16. Clive Palmer Group of Companies – $58.6 million
  17. My Chemist Retail Group – $56.6 million
  18. Volkswagen – $53.4 million
  19. Amazon – $51 million
  20. Industry Super Fund – $45.9 million

20 biggest ad spending categories (year on year change in brackets)

  1. Retail – $1.7 billion (down five per cent)
  2. Travel/accommodation – $792.6 million (up eight per cent)
  3. Motor vehicles – $742.5 million (down 13 per cent)
  4. Finance – $541.8 million (even)
  5. Communications – $517.9 million (up 14 per cent)
  6. Entertainment and leisure – $512.8 million (down five per cent)
  7. Real estate – $444.4 (down 31 per cent)
  8. Media – $384.1 million (up 26 per cent)
  9. Insurance – $348.7 million (up 11 per cent)
  10. Services – $290.9 million (down seven per cent)
  11. Gambling/gaming – $275 million (down three per cent)
  12. Food – $237.3 million (down 12 per cent)
  13. Government – $223.5 million (down five per cent)
  14. Community/public service – $188.8 million (up 12 per cent)
  15. Appliances, home and outdoor – $186.3 million (up 10 per cent)
  16. Pharmaceutical – $175.1 million (down 14 per cent)
  17. Education and learning – $134.5 million (down six per cent)
  18. Toiletries and cosmetics – $128.1 million (down one per cent)
  19. Energy and water – $119.8 million (down 25 per cent)
  20. Non-alcoholic beverages – $107.3 million (up 12 per cent)

In conclusion, Nielsen said: “Nielsen’s Ad Intel spend estimates provide the most comprehensive media coverage including metropolitan and regional free-to-air television, metropolitan and select regional newspapers, select consumer magazines, broadcast metropolitan radio, national out of home, national cinema and digital display and pre-roll video (no search, social or in-app).

“The Nielsen Ad Intel 2019 Top Advertisers Report looks at the advertising spend volumes across Australia’s Top 20 Advertiser Groups/Advertisers and the Top 20 competitive categories/industries, for the period Jan-Dec 2019.

“Nielsen Ad Intel aims to produce the most complete and accurate estimates of advertising expenditure in Australia and we continually refine and improve these estimates as the media landscape in Australia evolves, meaning that the estimates of ad spend provided in this report are correct at the time of release, but are subject to change.”


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