Member Exclusive   //   June 8, 2021

Modern Retail Research: Brands’ marketing budgets are inching back to pre-pandemic levels

Retailers and brands are experiencing a marketing rebound.

New data from a June Modern Retail and Glossy survey of brands and retailers found that 90% planned on having their online marketing budgets back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021. Another 6% said their online spends would return by the end of 2022.

Put together, it showcases that brands are expecting a post-pandemic recovery. And it’s a distinct shift from 2020. Last year, brands and retailers found themselves juggling resources in an attempt to stay afloat. One Modern Retail and Glossy survey from December 2020 found that 50% said they were going to hire less brick-and-mortar staff compared to 2019.

But it seems brands and retailers now see things returning to the 2019 era — at least when it comes to online advertising. Indeed, some brands are already making investments in new types of campaigns. For example, 62% said they had already begun running influencer marketing campaigns and 30% said they were beginning to run marketing events.

Offline marketing, however, may be evolving. While only 4% of respondents said they didn’t think online marketing budgets would return to pre-pandemic levels, 20% said they didn’t think offline would return to normal.

Even so, offline isn’t totally dead. In fact, according to Brian Rappaport CEO of Quan Media Group, he’s seeing more interest from brands in the out-of-home marketing space than ever. Clients, he said, are looking into areas like above-ground transportation, including buses as well entire stations takeovers. Below-ground subway advertising, he said, still has yet to rebound.

“The out-of-home landscape is almost resetting,” he said.

Put together, while some brands are changing their overall strategies, the marketing world is beginning to look toward post-pandemic life. “It’s an encouraging sign for brands,” said Rappaport.