U.S. Automotive Advertising - Statistics & Facts

The U.S. is a global leader in the advertising industry. In 2016, the American ad market generated 179 billion U.S. dollars in revenue, while second-placed China amounted 53 billion U.S. dollars in revenue. Over the years, automobile manufacturers have been well represented in the list of highest-spending advertisers in the U.S., as the industry invests heavily on advertising in the country.


Detroit-based General Motors, which operates under several brands such as Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, is the third largest advertisers in the U.S., spending 3.5 million U.S. dollars in advertising in 2015. Also based in the Detroit area, Ford Motor Company was the sixth largest advertiser in the country that year. Italian group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ranked eighth with a total of ad spend of 2.25 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, investing an average of 2.16 thousand U.S. dollar on advertising per each Fiat vehicle sold that year. Carmakers are some of the major spenders in the advertising market in the U.S., but they are not the only ones within the automotive industry. Advertising expenditure of the automotive rental and leasing industry was estimated at 492 million U.S. dollars in 2016, whereas automotive dealers and gas stations were projected to spend about 983 million U.S. dollars that year.

Television, the biggest advertising medium in the U.S. over the last few years, still remains an important platform for automobile advertisers. Automotive TV advertising spending in the United States increased from 3.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 to around 4.84 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan and Honda are some of the main names within the industry that have invested in TV advertising in 2016. The Super Bowl, one of the most watched TV programs of all time in the U.S., is a major event for automobile manufacturers as they invest millions of dollars in Super Bowl ads each year.

Despite the importance of TV in the advertising industry in the U.S., the medium has been losing space in the ad market for digital platforms. In line with this trend, auto advertisers have also shifted their investments to digital platforms. The automobile industry has the third largest digital advertising revenue in the country within major industries, ranking only behind retail and financial services. The digital ad revenue in the U.S. automotive sector is expected to grow to about 5.3 billion U.S. dollars by 2021. In 2015, the automotive industry spent 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in digital video advertising in the U.S., and about 3.4 billion U.S. dollars in mobile advertising.

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