April 19, 2011, 11:31 AM

Retailers lead in online ad spending

Retailers will spend $5.73 billion for web advertising this year, eMarketer predicts.

Stefany Moore

Associate Director of Research

Lead Photo

Retailers spend more on web advertising than does any other industry, according to new estimates from eMarketer, a digital media and advertising research firm.

Retailers will spend $5.73 billion on online ads this year, up 11% from $5.16 billion in 2010, the firm predicts. Spending on web advertising by retailers will increase to $9.36 billion by 2015 when it will make up 21% of all online ad spending in the United States, up slightly from 20.1% in 2011.

Total U.S. online ad spending will increase 10.5% this year to reach $28.5 billion, and reach $44.5 billion by 2015, eMarketer says.

However, non-retail industries will increase spending for web advertising this year faster than retailers do, eMarketer says. Consumer packaged goods companies, for instance, will increase spending 29% to $2.66 billion this year. Automotive spending will increase 14% to $3.24 billion, while health care and pharmaceuticals will boost online spending 13% to $1.17 billion. The research firm attributes the higher growth rates for consumer goods and automotive companies to their increased use of online video ads.

"Many industries that have traditionally focused on TV and print now see online video as an ideal and more cost-effective way to extend and complement their existing campaigns," says Victoria Petrock, senior research analyst at eMarketer.

As a result of this growth, the firm expects that spending from more mature online advertisers, including telecommunications, financial services and travel companies, will lose share through 2015.

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