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Retail Media Advertising 2021

More Retailers, More Advertisers, More Shopping

About This Report
Retail media advertising is the next big trend in digital advertising, driven by the surge in ecommerce spending and brands’ desire to target consumers close to the point of purchase.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Retailers have vast amounts of customer data that’s highly valuable to advertisers, since that data can help target ads based on a shopper’s likelihood to make a purchase and measure results in a closed loop. We expect advertisers to continue increasing their investments in retail media to access these benefits.

How big is retail media advertising in the US?

Our latest forecast for ecommerce channel advertising—a close proxy for retail media advertising—projects that spending will increase by 27.8% year over year to reach $23.92 billion in 2021. Expect this forecast to be revised upward in the fall as a result of Amazon and Walmart posting much higher growth for their respective ad businesses in recent earnings reports.

What’s driving the trend of retailers getting into the digital advertising business?

Brand dollars are gravitating toward retailers for their valuable first-party consumer purchase data, ability to target ads close to the point of purchase, and closed-loop measurement capabilities. Retailers are motivated to enter the digital ad business because this incremental revenue stream comes with attractive margins.

Which retailers are the biggest players in retail media?

Amazon dominates retail media, with an estimated 76.2% of US ecommerce channel ad spending in 2021. Digital marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, and Instacart have flourishing retail media businesses, while brick-and-mortar leaders like Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Walgreens, and CVS are also advancing their efforts. Recent entrants include DoorDash, Gopuff, and Uber.

How is retail media advertising evolving?

Historically, retail media has been driven by bottom-funnel sponsored search ads on retailers’ ecommerce websites. Recent emphasis on upper-funnel display and video ads, as well as the use of demand-side platforms (DSPs) to deliver ads across the open web, points to what’s ahead.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report provides an overview of the fast-growing retail media advertising opportunity and key retailers driving the market.

KEY STAT: After almost 50% growth in ecommerce channel ad spending during 2020, advertisers will increase those allocations by another 27.8% this year. One in 8 digital ad dollars will go to advertising on ecommerce properties.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

10expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Understanding the Retail Media Opportunity
    3. Retail Media Is Changing—and Changing Advertising
    1. Acting on the Opportunities
    2. Key Takeaways
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    1. Read Next
    2. Sources
    3. Media Gallery

    Interviewed for This Report

    Randy Browning
    Night Market
    Interviewed June 2, 2021
    Melissa Burdick
    Co-Founder and President
    Interviewed June 8, 2021
    Stan Coignard
    Co-Founder and CEO, Americas
    Interviewed May 27, 2021
    Shareena Fontaine
    Marketing Manager, US
    Interviewed May 27, 2021
    Lex Josephs
    Vice President, Ad Sales and Ad Tech Partnerships
    Interviewed July 1, 2021
    Julie Kenny
    Managing Director
    Interviewed May 20, 2021
    Geoffroy Martin
    General Manager and Executive Vice President, Growth Portfolio
    Interviewed June 23, 2021
    John Nardone
    Interviewed June 9, 2021
    Cara Pratt
    Senior Vice President, Kroger Precision Marketing
    Interviewed May 17, 2021
    Prerna Talreja
    Managing Director, Digital Activation
    Interviewed May 20, 2021


    Nicole Perrin


    Eric Haggstrom
    Senior Forecasting Analyst
    Andrew Lipsman
    Principal Analyst, Retail & Ecommerce
    Amy Rotondo
    Director, US Research
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