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US Retailers Account for 1 in 5 Digital Ad Dollars

Sector’s investment will reach $23.50 billion this year

June 27, 2018 (New York, NY) – The US retail industry will continue to dominate the digital ad business this year. Retailers will spend $23.50 billion on digital ads, up 18.7% over last year, representing nearly 22% of US digital ad spending.

The sector’s investment in mobile ads will total $16.33 billion, up 23.6% over 2017, accounting for nearly 70% of retailers’ digital ad spending. That gives the retail industry a nearly 22% share of US mobile ad spending.

“Retail brands spend far more than any other industry on digital advertising because, in retail, it’s increasingly about winning in search,” eMarketer senior analyst Patricia Orsini said. “If you’re a retailer, you want to make sure that your store, ecommerce site, or page within Amazon, pops up in Google’s search results. That competition is driving up the rates for search.”

“On the display side, rather than fighting against Amazon, retailers are partnering with the ecommerce giant,” eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco said. “As a result, Amazon is benefitting as retailers spend more on display ads, with an emphasis on promoted products.”

The auto industry will remain the second-highest digital ad spender in the US. Auto marketers will spend $13.57 billion on digital ads in 2018, up 16.9% over last year. The automotive sector will command 12.6% of all US mobile ad spending, or $9.42 billion.

Overall, US digital ad spending will grow 18.7% this year to reach $107.30 billion.



“Other” includes categories outside of those mentioned above, such as real estate, education, government, business and industrial, elections, energy and petrochemical, annual events, etc.


eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.

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Posted on June 28, 2018.