Leading advertising categories in the U.S. in 2018

Retail and automotive were the top two sectors in terms of ad spend in the United States, with significantly larger advertising spending than other major industries. With more than 17 billion U.S. dollars in advertising expenditures in 2018, the U.S. retail industry was a clear winner, followed by automotive with a 14 billion ad spend. Retail and automotive verticals also accounted for the largest shares of digital ad expenditures in the country, at 21.9 and 12.6 percent respectively.

Retail advertising in the U.S.

   As retailers are turning their attention to digital advertising, they are simultaneously increasing their marketing spending on mobile and social platforms. Unsurprisingly, the largest shares of retail marketing budgets are devoted to Google, Facebook entities and Amazon, with other digital ad publishers still behind the three tech giants. Amazon is also one of the highest spending advertisers in the country, with ad expenditures reaching well over 3.3 billion U.S. dollars. Walmart is slightly behind, spending 2.2 billion on advertising in the U.S., followed by Target, Macy’s and Kohl’s which all devote more than one billion to promotional activities.

Advertising expenditure in the largest advertising categories in the United States in 2018

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Release date

January 2019


United States

Survey time period


Special properties

measured media only

Supplementary notes

Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Car brands: Honda"

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