United States / Analyst Insights
Election Year Industries

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by Nick Masters, Senior Analyst
Jun 25 2020

Every four years, a handful of industries go into overdrive to facilitate our nation’s presidential elections. Some industries assist with election infrastructure while others play an important role in the presidential campaigns themselves. As the 2020 presidential election approaches, IBISWorld has identified industries vital to the process. However, demand from election-based sources often represents a small fraction of the major markets an industry serves. In turn, although certain products or services included within the industry may see heightened activity related to the election, this demand rarely offsets the influences of the industry’s other major markets.


Political campaigns leverage the expansive advertising supply chain to get their message across to the public. Key industries involved in the advertising process include Advertising Agencies (IBISWorld report 54181) and Media Buying Agencies (54183), among numerous other related industries. These industries often benefit from heightened advertising expenditure during election years. Although total advertising expenditure is anticipated to decline in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19, advertising expenditure has consistently increased during election years not coinciding with a recession. Within the realm of campaign advertising strategies, digital content creators have become an important component of the modern campaign. Operators in the Graphic Designers (54143) and Photography (54192) industries assist in creating digital content often intended for Social Networking Sites (OD4574).


Before extensive political ad campaigns are launched, market research and polling are typically conducted as a vital component of advertising campaign development. Although some advertising agencies conduct research in-house, the majority of this research is conducted by the Market Research industry (54191). This industry engages in opinion polling, statistical sampling and broadcast media ratings. Industry revenue is anticipated to grow 2.2% in 2020 due in part to rising demand from news organizations and political campaigns. The Market Research industry often works in conjunction with similar industries that also facilitate research, data analysis and strategy for political campaigns including Management Consulting (51821), Data Processing & Hosting Services (51821) and Virtual Data Rooms (OD4593).


Political campaigns require the expertise of attorneys and legal experts to ensure compliance, maintain campaign operations and to interpret election laws. Although presidential campaigns hire their own attorneys, the services these attorneys provide are included within the Law Firms industry (54111). One of the legal jobs attorneys assist with is compliance with campaign communications and fundraising laws. Other aspects include election administration advisory. With election procedures varying among jurisdictions, attorneys often assist a campaign in ensuring effective voter participation.