As an ecommerce business owner, knowing how much is being spent on online advertising gives you a sense of how the overall market is performing. Recent data shows that digital ad spend worldwide is expected to hit $667.6 billion in 2024, after a 10.9% increase from the previous year.

But what sectors contribute the most to the rising expenditure? Here’s a breakdown of global digital ad spend by industry.

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Digital ad spend by industry: 2023

According to the latest breakdown of digital ad spend by industry, the sector with the highest annual digital ad expenditure is fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). In 2023, the FMCG industry accounted for 21.6% of overall digital ad spend worldwide. In other words, more than $1 out of every $5 spent on online advertisements came from FMCG businesses. This marked a 2.1 percentage point rise in ad spending share for the sector—in 2022, its share was recorded at 19.5%.

Second on the list sorting digital ad spend by industry is retail. Retail companies were responsible for 12.3% of the total online advertising expenditure in 2023. Unlike the FMCG industry, retail’s share of the total digital ad spend dipped marginally, by 0.4 percentage points from 12.7% in 2022.

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Pharma and health care is in third place on the chart ranking digital ad spend by industry, with 8%. Together, the FMCG, retail, and pharma and health care sectors were responsible for 41.9% of the overall digital ad spend in 2023. Entertainment and media and telecommunications round out the top five, with shares of 7.6% and 7.1%, respectively.

Next on the list comparing digital ad spend by industry are travel and leisure and financial services. In 2023, businesses in each of these sectors contributed to 6.8% of the total ad spend worldwide. 

It’s worth noting that the travel industry’s ad expenditure share was markedly higher before the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, its share registered at 7.8%. Since then, its market share has not exceeded 7%. 

The business services sector follows, with a share of 5.6%. Automobiles and government complete the top 10 list comparing digital ad spend by industry, with shares of 4.3% and 4%, respectively. Altogether, these 10 industries accounted for 84.1% of the digital ad spend market share in 2023.

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