Retail media networks. TOP statistics and trends [2023]

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Retail media networks are among the fastest-growing and most dynamic ad marketplaces and are set to become the 3rd big wave of digital advertising.

Retail media also generate a huge opportunity for grocers to use insights and 1st party data to get their share of a $45B margin-rich retail media revenue market.

Since Amazon set the pace for retail media networks in 2012, dozens of retail media networks have launched over the past few years, with virtually every leading digital marketplace, national grocery chain, category-specific retailer and delivery provider getting into the game.

This means more ad supply that is close to the point of purchase with the added value of consumer data.

From general retail media networks trends to specific ad spend and revenue, here’s a breakdown of everything you’ll find out on this page:

  • Retail media trends (Top Picks)
  • Stats about ad spend, margins, revenue growth, CPC, CTR, etc
  • Unexpected (and obvious) reasons why retail media networks are exploding
  • and more!

Let’s dive right in!

Retail media trends (Top Picks)

  • Retail Media is expected to grow 5X in 5 years, with a 48 billion USD increase in spend from 2019 to 2024.
  • Retail media growth accelerated 42% year over year (YoY) in Q2 2022.
  • In the 8 months from May 2021 to January 2022, more than 23,500 companies bought ads on retail media networks.
  • By the end of 2022, US digital retail media ad spend will reach 40.81 billion USD, more than 3x its pre-pandemic total.
  • In 2021, digital retail media advertising spending worldwide was estimated at 77 billion USD. The projected value would increase to 143 billion by 2024.
  • Retail media margins far exceed other retail margins, with an onsite gross margin reaching values of 70-90%.
  • More than half of top 15 US ecommerce retailers have their own media networks, many of which were launched during the pandemic.
  • 74% of brands have dedicated budgets for retail media advertising.
  • Consumer packaged goods made up 17% of retail media ad spend. Reckitt Benckiser, Kellogg and Mondelez were the most substantial CPG spenders.
  • 62% of CPG brands’ main motivation to work with retail media networks was to gain access to a retailer’s first-party data.

Digital retail media ad spend:

How much will US advertisers spend on retail media networks through 2024?

  • In 2021, US brands spent 31 billion USD in retail media networks.
  • By the end of 2022, US digital retail media ad spending will reach 40,81 billion USD, more than triple its pre-pandemic total.
  • In the 8 months from May 2021 to January 2022, more than 23,500 companies bought ads on retail media networks.
  • 14% bought ads every month, the retention rate from December to January was 59%.
  • 24% of the companies advertising in January 2022 were first- time buyers.
  • Brands are spending a bigger % of their ad budget in retail media every year, reaching almost 15% in 2021, and with an expected 19% by 2024 and 25% by 2026.
  • 60-70% of the projected 100 billion USD in 2026 retail media revenue will be net new spending over and above historical trade dollars.

Source: MediaRadar and BCG

US Digital Retail Media Ad Spending, 2019-2024 (in billions)

Yearbillion% ad spending% change
201913,23 USD10%
202020,81 USD13,6%57%
202131,06 USD14,7%49%
202240,81 USD16,4%31%
202351,36 USD18,1%25%
202461,15 USD19,1%19%
US Digital retail media ad spending

Source: eMarketer

Digital retail media advertising spending US vs worldwide from 2021 to 2024
YearUS (billions)Worldwide (billions)% US vs worldwide
202131,06 USD77 USD40%
202240,81 USD95 USD43%
202351,36 USD116 USD44%
202461,15 USD143 USD43%
Digital retail media advertising spending US
  • In 2021, digital retail media advertising spending worldwide was estimated at 77 billion USD.
  • The projected value worldwide by 2024 is expected to increase to $143 billion.
  • In 2021, more than 40% of China’s total digital ad spend was dedicated to digital retail media.
  • China’s ecommerce ad spend will reach north of 50 billion USD in 2022.
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Marketing budget share in 2021, by type

  • Retail media networks have the highest percentage of non-adoption among digital ad formats.
  • 26% of brands currently allocate 0% of their marketing spend to retail media networks, and 42% spend less than 10%.
  • 10% of advertisers already spend more than 20% of their marketing budget in retail media networks.
  • There is a big opportunity to bring new advertisers into the fold and to get brands to shift more spend into retail media.
0%1-9% 10-19% 20-29% more than 30%
Retail media networks26%16%48%7%3%
Connected TV20%30%47%3%
Afiliate marketing20%28%46%4%1%
Digital audio18%37%41%4%
Digital out of home displays18%28%50%3%1%
Direct mail16%40%35%9%1%
In store16%39%36%7%3%
Paid search11%27%51%8%3%
Paid social11%22%57%9%1%
Digital display 9%30%50%7%3%
Digital video5%23%54%14%3%
Source: The Trade Desk, Nov 2021

How big are retail media margins?

  • Retail media margins far exceed other retail margins, with an onsite gross margin reaching values of 70-90%.
Gross margin (%)
Retail media onsite70-90
Retail media offsite20-40
Home improvement34
Sporting goods31
Gross margin by retail media

Source: BCG Commerce Media Survey (2022) and BCG COG Retail Media Benchmarking Survey (2021)

Digital retail media ad revenue growth 2022, by retailer

  • Overall, the mayor retail media networks grew north of 42%.
  • Amazon still provided the largest contribution to YoY growth at the retailer level, twice as much as its closest competitor, Walmart.

Source: Q2 2022 Quarterly Digital Trends Report

US digital retail media ad revenue growth 2022, by industry

  • Retail will be the top gaining category for digital ad spend in 2022 at 20.2%.
  • CPG will rank nr 2 at 17.9%, aligning with the category’s shift to ecommerce.
% growth
Retail 20.2%
Card networks 14.8%
Consumer electronics15.3%
Banking 13.1%
Financial services 12.8%
Healthcare and pharma11.5%
Telecom 11.0%
Source: eMarketer
US retail media growth, by product category
  • Year over year ad spend in the food category grew 200% in 2022, compared to average growth of all categories of 45%.

(The addition of grocery-focused retail media networks (Kroger, CitrusAd, Instacart) may skew growth toward certain CPG categories)

Source: Q2 2022 Quarterly Digital Trends Report

Digital retail media ad spend growth 2022, by ad channel
  • Commerce spending growth was focused on retail media and paid social channels. Retail media ad spend grew over 40%, paid social ad spend grew over 50%, and paid search had negative growth.
  • In the first quarter of 2022, digital retail media spending on sponsored product ads was 49% higher than in the first quarter of 2021.
Demand-side Platforms (DSP) US marketers and agencies have used, in 2021

A demand-side platform (DSP) is a software that allows brands to buy ads with the help of automation and get high quality traffic at scale with minimal friction. A DSP lets advertisers buy across several different ad exchanges at the same time. DSPs are critical to realizing retail media network’s opportunity for targeting and attribution.

  • 45% of US retailers are already plugged into Google Display and Video 360.
  • Retail media is moving up the funnel – particularly into display ads and CTV.
Google Display & Video 36045%
Amazon DSP39%
The Trade Desk DSP (Walmart)36%
Verizon Media DSP (Yahoo)33%
Adobe Advertising Cloud24%
MediaMath DSP13%
Tremor Video DSP12%
Source: Advertiser Perceptions

Number of Retail Media Networks used by US marketers, in Sep 2021

  • 55% of brands use 3+ retail media networks.
  • Brands face the challenge of having too many platforms to manage their media buys.
1 RMN5%
2 RMN41%
3 RMN40%
4 RMN10%
5 + RMN5%
Source: The Trade Desk
Digital retail media cost per click (CPC) worldwide
  • In the first quarter of 2022, the average cost-per-click stood at 0.97 USD, having fallen from 1.12 USD in the last quarter of 2021.
  • The average COC across all retail media publishers is considered stable, and was mostly unchanged both QoQ and YoY.
Average CPC
Q2 20211,02 USD
Q3 20211,06 USD
Q4 20211,12 USD
Q1 20220,97 USD
Q2 20221,01 USD
Retail media cost per click (CPC)

Source: Q2 2022 Quarterly Digital Trends Report

Digital retail media click through rate (CTR) worldwide

Compared to traditional advertising, digital retail media offer clear conversion tracking and closed loop reporting to prove that the ad has good engagement levels.

  • In the first quarter of 2022, the clickthrough rate of digital retail ads stood at 0.38%, a very slight increase from previous quarters.
  • CTR on digital retail media ads stays stable QoQ and YoY.
Q YearAverage CTR
Q2 20210,36%
Q3 20210,36%
Q4 20210,35%
Q1 20220,38%
Q2 20220,39%
Digital retail media CTR

Why are retail media networks exploding?

Retail media have the perfect ingredients to serve the needs and goals of all stakeholders involved: brands, retailers and consumers.

Advantages of retail media – for retailers

Retailers have found in retail media networks a means to boost revenues by leveraging their scale and their massive amounts of first-party data.

Afterall, advertising is big business, and a retail media network enables retailers to tap into this $560 billion industry.

  • Walmart reported a 240% growth in advertising revenue in Q3 of 2021.
  • Criteo reported revenue for Q2 2022 of $495 million, with gross profit of $185 million.
  • Instacart reported $300 million in ad revenue and hopes to break the $1 billion mark in 2022, according to Wall Street Journal.
  • A quarter of retailers reported at least $100 million in advertising revenue in 2021.

Sources: statista, emarketer, WSJ, epsilon

Advantages of retail media – for brands

Retail media networks give advertisers 3 major capabilities:

1. Next level personalization

Rich, first-party customer data derived from long periods of shopping history across several products that provides granularity and precision in targeting.

2. Clear conversion tracking

A direct path to actual sales of the CPG’s products. Many offer closed loop reporting to prove that the ad resulted directly in incremental sales.

3. Perfectly timed ads

Brands can get in front of shoppers that already are in transaction mode. Because of these and other advantages, it is no surprise that:

  • 74% of brands have dedicated budgets for retail media advertising.
  • 80% of brands have more confidence in the ROI from advertising within retail media walled gardens compared to other e-commerce retailers.

Sources: Criteo, Forrester

Advantages of retail media – for consumers

The most direct benefit to consumers is offering them a personalized shopping experience. But there is also an indirect benefit that shoppers should highly appreciate, because it affects their pocket.

Think about it this way:

Inflation is putting increased pressure on retail earnings, with supply costs rising and customer demand shifting. Retail media provides a new source of revenue for retailers, who can then hold on price increases of goods.

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Conclusion: retail media networks are and will remain relevant.

In a world without cookies, brands are forced to rely less on third-party data.

First-party data emerged as a critical tool for advertisers to provide consumers with personalized and relevant experiences that move the needle.

By partnering with retail media networks, brands can access huge quantities of first-party data on customers’ search, browsing and purchasing habits. From there, brands and retailers can work together to design and optimize retail media ad campaigns based on valuable insights.

Next steps

Loyal Guru’s advanced retail analytics module provides detailed, simple and visual reports on KPIs enabling actionable and effective business insights. With all data in one place, retailers can allocate marketing dollars more efficiently and create new monetization opportunities with CPGs.

If you’re a retailer and you’d like to talk about any of the trends outlined in this article in more detail, then get in touch with our team – we’ll be happy to show you examples or talk through your brand’s unique challenges.

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