Kantar: Retail holiday advertising down from 2019 — here’s who cut back the most

Marianne Wilson
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The top 10 retail advertisers have spent $538.6 million between the beginning of October and Cyber Monday, down 24% from 2019.
That’s according to an analysis of national TV advertising by 10 leading retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Target, conducted by Kantar. When viewed by advertiser, Amazon and J.C. Penney cut back the most, with Amazon alone accounting for a $62 million reduction in TV spend during this time period. 

Macy’s and Kohls also made steep cuts in the range of 30%. Walmart was the only retailer on the list that actually increased spend.

While the first week of November usually marks the true beginning of the holiday advertising season, it was down 44% this year as compared to 2019, according to Kantar. Following that, ad spend roughly followed traditional patterns by rising through to Thanksgiving week followed by a slight decline during Cyber Monday week. However, spend was consistently 20-30% below last year’s levels.

Here is Kantar’s review of holiday season* TV advertising by key retailers in 2019 and 2020:

*Includes the broadcast weeks from September 28-November 30, 2020 and comparable for 2019