The Australian online classifieds advertising market grew by only 2.5 percent in 2009 to finish the calendar year valued at $506 million, compared to a growth of 28 percent the previous year.
However the resilience of the Australian economy in 2009 was further demonstrated by comparison with expenditure on online classifieds advertising in the US and UK markets, both of which saw significant falls.
At the same time, the migration of classifieds advertising expenditure to the online has continued, with online now surprisingly only accounting for an estimated 25 per cent of total classifieds advertising expenditure, up from 23 per cent in 2008.
The forecasts were released in the Australia Online Classifieds Advertising Market 2010, the latest research in Frost & Sullivan’s annual examination into the state of the local online advertising industry.
The employment market has naturally proved most vulnerable to economic conditions, with the volume of adverts directly linked to employers’ willingness to hire staff. The economic downturn began to impact on job advertising in late-2008 with a substantial fall in Q1 2009, although stabilising by the mid-point in the year.
Phil Harpur, ANZ Senior Research Manager, Frost & Sullivan, comments, “Over the past few years, the fundamental driver behind the growth of the online classifieds advertising market has been the migration of expenditure from print classifieds to online classifieds, as advertisers have gradually switched their expenditure to the online channel, or started using the online channel alongside the print channel.
“However, as the Australian online classifieds market matures, it is, like the print classifieds market, becoming more closely correlated with economic conditions. This is not to say that the migration from print to online has ceased, but it is no longer the overwhelming market force that it was in the early stages of growth of the online market, where factors such as the state of the economy had much less relative impact on overall online classifieds growth.
“As select sectors in the online classifieds market, such as the recruitment sector, have established themselves as more popular than print, both companies and consumers are questioning whether they also need to advertise on the print channel at all,” Harpur adds.