For the first time in U.S. history, marketers are projected to spend more on online advertising than on advertising in print magazines and newspapers.
According to a study released Thursday by eMarketer, online advertising is expected to generate $39.5 billion in sales this year — a 23.3% increase from 2011 — compared to a sum of $33.8 billion on print.
That’s impressive growth, especially since 2011 also witnessed a 23% jump in online ad spending, according to eMarketer’s calculations. Online ad revenues should continue to grow over the next half-decade, albeit at a more modest rate, as shown in the chart below. Total online ad investment is projected to hit $62 billion by that time.
The forecast for print is foreboding. Marketers are expected to continue cutting their print advertising budgets for the next half-decade, spending $32.3 billion in 2016, 10% less than what they invested in print ads in 2011.
Spending on TV promises to be largely unaffected by growing online ad budgets, although the gap between the two is set to narrow significantly. U.S. marketers are expected to spend $72 billion in TV advertising in 2016, up 18.6% from 2011.
Overall, it looks to be a healthy year for the ad industry, with total U.S. ad spending forecast to grow by 6.7% to $169.5 billion. eMarketer attributes the bump to investment in campaigns ads and mobile advertising. Total ad spending is set to reach nearly $200 billion by 2016, of which online will account for a third.