Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Browse our upcoming and past events, recent podcasts, and other featured resources.
Learn More
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

What’s behind retail media’s skyrocketing growth and what may be holding it back

Retail media has the potential to become one of the biggest growth engines in the history of digital media, our analyst Max Willens said.

Over 1 in 6 dollars spent on digital ads in the US will go toward retail media this year, a 17.1% slice of all digital advertising, according to our forecast.

There are three major factors contributing to retail media’s growth.

1. The rise in ecommerce sales

Total retail ecommerce sales in the US will grow 10.0% this year to reach $1.148 trillion, coming out to about $5,262.14 in sales per digital buyer, per our forecast.

“Which is just basically another way of saying that most Americans buy lots and lots of things online,” said Willens on a recent “Behind the Numbers: The Daily” podcast episode. That means US consumers have a high exposure to digital advertisements, and retailers can use their purchase data to make the targeting and delivery of those ads more efficient and accurate.

2. Proliferation of ad formats

While the core of retail media spending is sponsored search ads, retail media networks offer a variety of ad formats, including connected TV, video, off-site display, audio, and in-store media.

“[Advertisers] can use retailers to target consumers almost anywhere with any kind of digital advertising, and that is very powerful.”

3. Relationships

Growing out a new ad format can be a bit of a challenge. To get advertisers to sign on, you need to prove that it’s worth their marketing dollars, which you can’t do unless you have advertiser partners already in place.

With retail media, those partnerships already exist, making it easier to build out entire ad networks. “[Retailers] already have relationships in place with thousands, if not millions, of potential ad buyers,” said Willens.

Speed bump ahead: The space is evolving quickly—maybe too quickly for ad buyers and sellers.

  • In March 2022, our forecasting team expected retail media would exceed $51 billion this year. Since then, Meta, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok, Roku, and a large number of retailers all jumped into retail media, and we downgraded our forecast by about 12%.
  • Advertisers are struggling to determine where to put their dollars with so many options.
  • Measurement is also a challenge. “It then gets really difficult when you sit down with all the data and go, ‘OK, but which one of these is actually doing a better job?’”

The bottom line: Despite potential challenges, retail media is a gold mine for advertisers because it taps directly into their concerns and interests, said Willens.

  • At its core, retail media is powered by on-site search, which is attractive to advertisers because it's close to the point of sale and it helps to connect the dots between search and purchase.
  • “It sits on big, big piles of privacy-compliant first-party data,” said Willens, and is invaluable to advertisers amid the increasing loss of data signals due to cookie deprecation and privacy regulations.

Listen to the full podcast.


This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.