U.S. ad market to grow 15% this year, helped by stimulus package: GroupM

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk past an advertisement for the upcoming James Bond film "NO TIME TO DIE" whose release has been delayed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware U.S. November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Mark Makela/File Photo

(Reuters) - The U.S. advertising market is forecast to grow more quickly than previously expected as stimulus payments to Americans help jump-start the economy and small businesses spend more on ads to recover from the pandemic, according to ad agency GroupM.

The ad market is poised to grow 15% this year, excluding political advertising, compared with 2020, GroupM said on Saturday. It had previously forecast 12% growth.

The coronavirus pandemic ravaged the U.S. ad market in 2020 as struggling businesses shut their doors and slashed marketing budgets. Even compared with the “normal” year of 2019, the ad market is expected to grow 6% this year, indicating a “more-than-full recovery,” GroupM said.

The agency’s rosy outlook comes as $1.1 trillion is expected to be pumped into the economy this year as part of the new federal stimulus package approved this month, GroupM said.

New small businesses are also forming at a record pace and buying digital ads, particularly on Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, to reach customers, the agency added.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Dan Grebler