Walmart spends the most on retail ads; Prime Day not a major factor

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart was the top retail advertiser for the first five months of 2021.

According to analysis from advertising intelligence/sales enablement platform MediaRadar, the top five retail advertisers across digital, TV and print from Jan. 1- June 10, 2021, are Walmart, Amazon, Office Depot, Home Depot, and Target. Walmart outspent Amazon by 6%.

Collectively, the top five companies spent $1.03 billion during that time, which is up 8% compared to the same period in 2020, where the same five companies spent a combined total of $954 million. According to MediaRadar, Amazon’s ad spend was down 3% year-over-year for May 2021, the month leading up to its June 2021 Prime Day sales event. 
When comparing May 2021 to May 2020, MediaRadar found that except for Office Depot, there was no evidence of any explicit advertising ramp-up from any of the other top advertisers – Walmart, The Home Depot or Target – as a reaction to the coming of Amazon Prime Day. Target, Walmart, and The Home Depot all had very small or negative year-over-year growth in May 2021.
Office Depot’s ad spend was up more than 100% year-over-year during May 2021 although MediaRadar analysis indicates this could be a case of Office Depot’s recovery, and not necessarily a specific response to Amazon Prime Day.
According to MediaRadar, the only format that Amazon promoted Prime Day on as of June 10 is TV, with TV representing 60% of Amazon’s total ad spend during the first 10 days of June. Spend from this TV campaign accounted for 15% of the e-tail giant’s monthly ad spend to date from June 1-10, 2021.
“When we compared Amazon’s ad spend from May 2020 to May 2021, we saw that they invested more into print and digital formats, moving a noticeable portion of their spend out of TV,” said Todd Krizelman, CEO and co-founder of MediaRadar. “Their print and digital ad spend increased 129% and 27%, respectively. However, TV still accounted for 73% of that total ad spend.”