Retail Industry Reigns for US Digital Ad Spending - eMarketer
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Retail Industry Reigns for US Digital Ad Spending

Retail ad spending accounts for just over one-fifth of all US digital ad dollars

US retail industry ad spending on paid digital media will reach $12.91 billion in 2015 and grow to $19.98 billion by 2019, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3% over the 2014-to-2019 period forecast by eMarketer. Despite a gradual leveling off of spending increases, retail will remain the leader among industries when it comes to digital ad spending during this timeframe, according to a new eMarketer report, “The US Retail Industry 2015: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends,” part of our “Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry” report series.

US Retail Industry Digital Ad Spending, 2013-2019 (billions, % of total digital ad spending and % change)

Retail ad spending has hovered at just above one-fifth of all US digital ad spending for the past few years and will continue to record a similar share, seeing only a 0.1-percentage-point decline between 2015 and 2019.

Most of that spending will go toward mobile, eMarketer estimates. This year, 51.5% of retailers’ ad budgets will be mobile—a higher share than in any other industry but entertainment, which will devote 53.5% of digital ad spending to mobile this year.

Doug Rohrer, chief strategy officer of ad tech firm Kargo, thinks mobile ad dollars may shift from “performance, app downloads and search” to video or native ads where retailers can tell stories. “People are trying to figure out how to work with their screen in a place where they’re comfortable for brand advertising,” he said.

US Digital Ad Spending, by Industry and Format, 2015 (billions)

At this point, 65% of retail industry digital ad spending in the US is on direct-response ads—including both mobile and the desktop. Branding-oriented buys are just 35% of budgets in 2015, eMarketer estimates.

In terms of specific formats, retailers are investing heavily in search, at $6.18 billion this year. Retail, automotive, financial services and travel advertisers are the only industries where search spending outstrips display.

Advertisers in the retail industry will spend $1.55 billion on digital video ads this year—more than any other industry. They account for nearly one in five of all US digital video ad dollars.

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.

Download the executive summary of the report here.

eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.

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