Our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds) is presented in three reports, with the first providing a summary of the key macro trends, technological developments and spending outlook for the total UK classified advertising market followed by a detailed analysis of recruitment marketing; we will look at the property and auto verticals separately in two upcoming publications. Overall, we believe that the UK classified market is poised for a period of sustained innovation as the print to digital transition matures and incumbents search for new revenue streams induced by slowing digital revenue growth and consumer and client demand coupled with increasingly applicable emerging technologies. Across the three verticals we identify voice, video, virtual and augmented reality, user-generated content; and, critically, Artificial Intelligence as potentially disruptive forces. In terms of macroeconomic drivers, we observe that the Brexit referendum has had a minimal impact thus far but believe that economic uncertainty around the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU will prove a significant dampener on revenue growth in the next two years.
In recruitment, the jobs market remains in growth despite the initial shock from the referendum and the recruitment industry continues to grow its revenues, up 2% in 2016 by our estimates. However, recruitment advertising spend itself was down -1% in the first half of this year reflecting the saturation of the online market as the print to digital transition reaches its latter stages; online now accounts for 76% of recruitment spend. The pay per listings model of traditional job boards appears increasingly outdated and in the future we believe that recruitment advertising services’ main value will lie in collecting and organising job seeker data rather than charging for advertising space, a view corroborated by Microsoft’s $22.6bn acquisition of LinkedIn announced in June. Meanwhile, the online jobs aggregator Indeed continues to build its revenue share while print brands’ digital revenues fell in both 2015 and H1 2016.