LONDON: Slower growth in marketing budgets contributed to a dip in marketers' optimism during March according to the latest data from Warc's Global Marketing Index (GMI).

The headline GMI figure, which takes into account marketers' expectations in three key areas – marketing budgets, staffing levels and trading conditions – slipped 0.9 points to 57.1, on a scale where values above 50 indicate a positive trend.

While the Asia Pacific region continued to be broadly stable, registering an increase of 0.2 points to reach a headline GMI of 57.4, both Europe and the Americas saw a decline in confidence: the index for Europe was down 2.1 points to 57.0 while that for the Americas dipped 1.5 points to 57.5.

This movement was largely attributable to a decline in the index for marketing budgets, the overall global index for which now stands at 54.2 (-1.4 points month on month). This index has now dropped three months in a row from its December peak of 57.3.

The greatest decrease came in Europe, which recorded a 4.0 fall to an index figure of 52.4. Asia Pacific saw a less significant decline of 1.4 points to 55.1. In contrast, the Americas continued to rise, up another 0.4 points to 55.5.

Globally, the outlook for trading conditions remained strong, as this index rose once again to 62.5, meaning it has now exceeded 60.0 for five consecutive months.

Confidence was highest in Europe (63.5) and Asia Pacific (63.1), both of which had seen increases; only the Americas had declined but that region was still just above 60 (60.4).

The index of staffing levels, the final component of the headline GMI, saw a reversal of the previous few months' increases, down 2.2 points to 54.7. The highest levels of recruitment were in the Americas (56.6), followed by Europe (55.2) and Asia Pacific (54.0).

"Marketing budgets have now been consistently rising since January 2013, and despite the rate of growth dipping in Q1 2014, the data continue to indicate very positive conditions for global marketers," commented Suzy Young, Data and Journals Director at Warc.

Data sourced from Warc