Press release

Not the Time to Reduce Ad Spend: Despite Slowed Q2 Economic Growth and Fears of Recession, New Rakuten Marketing Research Reveals Online Shoppers Are Responding to Marketing Channels, Boosting Categories Across the Board

Sponsored by Businesswire

Online retailers will be encouraged by a new suite of research from Rakuten Marketing that shows a number of brand categories receiving a sales boost this year. Amidst news of slowed economic growth and fears of recession, this new data from January through August 2019 shows a steady uptick in online ad performance, as online consumers shop more internationally, try new brands, and engage with a range of ever-evolving marketing channels.

Sales Lift

Footwear and sporting goods are just two of the categories online shoppers snapped up in 2019 so far, with both verticals experiencing an impressive lift over the same period in 2018.

The hotlist within the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate U.S. network:

  • Footwear – 47% lift
  • Sporting Goods – 34% lift
  • Beauty & Personal Care – 30% lift
  • Home Improvement – 28% lift
  • Housewares/Small Appliances – 24% lift
  • Apparel & Accessories – 13% lift
  • High-End/Luxury Stores – 11% lift

The boost for categories like footwear and beauty could be due to the increasing potency of influencer marketing. In March 2019, Rakuten Marketing released the results of a survey that asked 3,600 shoppers about their interactions with influencers. As many as 3 in 5 revealed they interacted with an influencer “at least once a day”, with two of the four biggest categories being beauty influencers (43% follow) and fashion influencers (39% follow).

Growth Opportunity Via Brand Curiosity

Other new Rakuten Marketing research – that surveyed over 3,570 consumers across seven countries including the UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Singapore and the USA – demonstrated an untapped appetite among consumers for international brands, as well as a willingness to buy new products for the first time with the right experiential and financial incentives.

The takeaways:

International shopping

Six in ten consumers would consider purchasing internationally if they knew more about overseas brands and could be incentivized further with better shipping costs and easier payments.

54 percent of would-be international shoppers emphasized they’d be interested in overseas apparel brands if they were aware of them.

The study also found that although global consumers typically restrict themselves to a narrow choice set of less than two brands when purchasing a new product, brands outside of that set could still lift sales by incentivizing new customers to try their products:

New brand incentives

Two-thirds of all consumers would consider a new brand if they receive a discount.

Nearly half would consider a new brand if they receive a reward.

Over 50 percent of generic apparel shoppers would require a discount of over 25% to consider a new brand.

Two-thirds of shoppers expect brands to offer a breadth of selection and a simple, intuitive online experience.

“Brands are seeing a steady uptick in online sales in 2019, which we predict will hold true for the second half of the year and into the holiday season,” said Julie Van Ullen, Managing Director of Rakuten Marketing for the U.S., “But it’s important to remember that online retailers still have to work hard as shoppers are now savvier than ever. Attracting new audiences will mean thinking about the best channels and the right incentives.”

Growth Across U.S. Marketing Channels

Rakuten Marketing has seen a massive boost in the reach of display advertising this year, with a 50 percent increase in impressions YOY. Rakuten Marketing also recognized a 25 percent YOY increase in ad engagement, which is indicative of Rakuten Marketing’s efforts to optimize advertising across marketing channels to deliver relevant and timely consumer advertising that delights consumers and performs for brands. Social media advertising spend has also increased 17 percent YOY.

In total, Rakuten Marketing has had big increases this year with its display-driven revenue and purchases with a YOY growth of 56 percent and 28 percent, respectively. In-line with established trends, mobile-driven display campaigns saw 72 percent growth YOY. However, desktop still continues to drive higher revenue numbers than mobile web and tablet.

In addition to these encouraging metrics, Rakuten Marketing also added a raft of new advertisers as marketing partners including Monster, Newegg and direct-to-consumer brand Simple Contacts.

About Rakuten Marketing

Rakuten Marketing is a digital advertising business uniquely positioned at the intersection of adtech and agency. Harnessing the best of strategy and technology, our products help global businesses seamlessly expand into new markets, acquire valuable new customers and authentically engage their existing audiences by delivering experiences people love. Brands benefit with improved performance and efficiencies, and results that align to real business objectives.

Rakuten Marketing is a division of Rakuten Inc. (4755: TOKYO), one of the world’s leading Internet service companies. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with offices in Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Japan, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and throughout the United States. Follow us on Twitter or learn more at