Digiday+ Research check-in: Brands know recession is ahead, but are hopeful it will be shallow

shopping laptop

Thanksgiving dinner is over, we survived Black Friday shopping and now it’s back to reality: The economy is still in a precarious situation. And brands know this all too well.

Earlier this month, Digiday+ Research checked in with publishers on their attitudes toward a recession and found that there is a lot of pessimism mixed with optimism. Now, it’s brands’ turn. The story for the 75 brand professionals surveyed this fall is a somewhat similar mix of pessimism and optimism — most brand pros believe a recession is coming, but they are mixed on what kind of recession it will be.

Over the summer, 56% of buy-side pros told Digiday that they agreed there would be a recession in the next six months and 67% said they expected a recession in the next 12 months. This fall, that number shot up significantly for brands: 83% of brand respondents to Digiday’s fall survey said they believe we’re entering into a recession.

While brands pretty much agree across the board that there will be a recession, there is a lot less agreement when it comes to what type of recession it will be, Digiday’s survey found.

Brand pros were almost evenly split when they were asked whether they think a recession will be deep or shallow. A majority of respondents said they believe it will be a shallow recession, but not by a large amount. Fifty-eight percent of brand pros told Digiday they believe a recession will be shallow, compared with 42% who said they believe a recession will be deep.

Brands’ opinions on the length of an impending recession were also split. In fact, they also fell into a 58/42 split.

A small majority (58%) of brand pros said they think a recession will be long, Digiday’s survey found. Meanwhile, 42% of brands said they think we are entering into a short recession.

Overall, brands’ mix of pessimism and optimism related to an impending recession looks like this: Brands are pessimistic in that they are sure a recession will occur and many think a recession will be long. But there is slight optimism among brands in that they think a recession will be shallow. We’ll see how economic conditions play out through the holiday shopping season and into 2023.

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