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Retail Continues to Lead in Online Ad Spending

Consumer packaged goods industry ups its share of online spend

April 18, 2011

Retail is the highest-spending industry online, according to eMarketer estimates that break down total US online ad spending by vertical. Retailers will spend $5.73 billion on internet advertising this year, up from $5.16 billion in 2010, accounting for more than one in every five online ad dollars.

Telecom, financial services and automotive round out the top four highest-spending industries this year.

Online ad spending by the retail industry will see double-digit growth of 11% for 2011, but other verticals will increase spending more quickly. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) spending will be increase 29% this year, automotive spending will rise by 14%, and healthcare and pharma will boost online spending by 13%.

US Online Ad Spending, by Industry, 2009-2015 (billions)

eMarketer benchmarks its total US online ad spending as well as its industry-specific numbers against 2009 data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau/PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The high growth in CPG spending online will lead to a big change in share for that industry. In 2009, CPG online ad spending made up 6% of the total, but by 2015 that proportion will rise to 13%. The proliferation of online video—an ideal branding format for big consumer products advertisers—is a primary contributor to the growth.

Industries expected to lose share in online ad spending include telecom, financial services and travel, a mature online market in terms of online ad spending that will slip just slightly through 2015.

US Online Ad Spending Share, by Industry, 2009-2015 (% of total)

Healthcare and pharma spending will grow modestly but will likely be affected by the loss of patent protection for several blockbluster drugs and forthcoming guidelines from the US Food & Drug Administration, which many in the industry hope will provide clearer direction for how pharmaceutical products can be marketed online.

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Check out today’s other article, “Surprising Growth for Standard Banner Ads.”


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