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US: Travel Industry Surpasses CPG in Digital Ad Spending; Auto Falls Below Financial Services

Retail leads digital, video, and mobile spending

July 31, 2019 (New York, NY) – eMarketer expects a shift in US digital ad spending next year, as economic factors weigh on certain industries.  In 2020, financial services will displace the auto sector, while travel will surpass consumer packaged goods (CPG).

CPGs will rank fifth this year in US digital ad spending at $11.12 billion.  But the travel industry will overtake CPG by 2020.  Travel-related companies will spend $12.97 billion on digital ads next year, while CPG firms will spend $12.80 billion.

“For the CPG and travel industries, we are seeing contrasting market dynamics leading to a contradictory trend in digital ad budgets in 2019,” said Oscar Orozco, forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “While consolidation in the CPG sector is leading to a squeeze in ad budgets, increased competition in the travel industry is spurring digital ad spending, as brands fight for market share and consumers’ attention.”

Mobile is a key driver of online ad spending among hotels, airlines and other travel industry services.  In fact, the travel sector spends more of its digital budget on mobile than any other industry–70.1% in 2019.



Next year, the auto sector will fall behind financial services in digital outlays.  In 2020, the auto industry will spend $18.15 billion on digital ads, while financial services will spend $18.25 billion.

“We expect weakness in the automotive market to hurt digital ad spending into the coming years,” Orozco said.  “While dealers have seen subdued advertising budgets recently, automakers are also busy grappling with new technologies, shifts in consumer behaviors and stricter emission standards. All of this is being prioritized, leading brands to pivot their focus from ad spending to research and development.”

Mobile is driving digital ad spending within the financial sector, as firms look to target millennials specifically.  In fact, 69.4% of all financial sector digital spending is on mobile, making it the No. 2 industry for mobile outlays.



Meanwhile, the US retail sector remains No. 1 in digital ad spending with nearly 22% market share, far ahead of other industries.  Retailers and related companies will spend $28.33 billion this year in online ads, a 19% gain from last year.  Retail also commands the highest portion of mobile ad spending in the US.

Retail leads all other industries in video.  The retail sector will control 19.2% of all US video ad spending this year, which will make up nearly half of the sector’s digital display budget.


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.


About eMarketer
Founded in 1996, eMarketer is the first place to look for research about marketing in a digital world. eMarketer enables thousands of companies worldwide to understand marketing trends, consumer behavior and get the data needed to succeed in the competitive and fast-changing digital economy. eMarketer’s flagship product, eMarketer PRO, is home to all of eMarketer’s research, including forecasts, analyst reports, aggregated data from 3,000+ sources, interviews with industry leaders, articles, charts and comparative market data. eMarketer’s free daily newsletters span the US, EMEA and APAC and are read by more than 200,000 readers globally. In 2016 eMarketer, Inc. was acquired by European media giant Axel Springer S.E.


For more information, contact:

Douglas Clark
Global Director of Public Relations

Corinne Weir
Public Relations Coordinator

Posted on July 30, 2019.