key figures and outlook


Digital advertising regains its pre-pandemic momentum

If the year 2020 showed that e-pub suffered less from the health crisis, 2021 proves that the sector is regaining a pre-Covid dynamic. According to the report, digital advertising in France has seen growth of 24% compared to 2020 and 29% compared to 2019. E-pub revenues thus amount to 7,678 billion euros.

Key figures to remember:

  • Search is enjoying growth of 28% and represents 42% of the market, or 3,254 billion euros. This includes in particular the surge in retail search, which now accounts for 12% of search,
  • Social is seeing growth of 22% in 2021, representing 26% of the market (2,034 billion euros),
  • Display shows very strong growth of 31% (1,501 billion euros) and accounts for 20% of the market,
  • Affiliation, emailing and comparison sites recorded growth of +8% and represented 12% of the market (890 million euros).
Summary of the results of the 27th e-pub Observatory. © Olivier Wyman

Display is seeing a very strong rebound in 2021

Very affected by the crisis in 2020, display is seeing a very strong rebound in 2021 with growth of 31% compared to the second half of 2020. The different players that make up display have experienced variable growth:

  • publishing and news remain the largest category on the market (592 million euros) and will show growth of 21.7% in 2021,
  • video and music streaming shows growth of 55.3% compared to 2020 and represents 450 million euros,
  • retail and services see a 24.8% increase in 2021 and represent 245 million euros,
  • radio and television posted 213 million in revenue (+25.1%).
The results of the various display players. © Olivier Wyman

Video, the leading display format

Video accounts for almost half of display (46%) and shows the strongest growth in the sector (+46%). It stands out as the leading display format, mainly driven by instream.

Video sees 46% growth in 2021. © Olivier Wyman

The other numbers on the display:

  • The classic (banners, site skins, etc.) shows a growth of 16% and its share within the display decreases slightly, from 42% in 2020 to 37% in 2021,
  • Special operations (OPS) recorded good growth (+28%) and represented 14% of display,
  • Audio saw the strongest growth (+58%).
The results of the different display formats. © Olivier Wyman

Booming digital audio

Digital audio generates 48 million euros in revenue, of which 23 million comes from streaming platforms. Note: the expansion of publisher podcast hosts, whose revenues will increase from 3 million to 6 million euros between 2020 and 2021.

Digital audio will show strong growth in 2021. © Olivier Wyman

The report identifies different growth levers:

  • approximately 34 million monthly digital listeners in France in 2021,
  • increasingly diversified and innovative offers,
  • audio campaigns less subject to regulatory constraints (most without contextual cookies or first party data).

Among the axes of development, the Observatory emphasizes the lack of performance indicators and the need for a large volume of ads to be profitable.

The native format continues to grow

In 2021, the native format will see growth of 41% and represent 25% of display revenue. It recorded 381 million euros in revenue, mainly driven by the classic recommendation modules.

The native format is growing (+41%). © Olivier Wyman

Programmatic sees a sustained rebound

Programmatic now accounts for 64% of display revenue, recording growth of 38% over the year. For its part, non-programmatic shows an increase of 23%. Regarding programmatic formats, video is experiencing the strongest rebound (+55%).

Revenues recorded by programmatic and non-programmatic in 2021. © Olivier Wyman

Search is accelerating, social growth driven by video

Search is seeing a strong acceleration in 2021 (+28% compared to 2020). It represents 3,254 billion euros in revenue and benefits from the strong momentum of retail search, which stands at 12% of the total and has seen growth of 56% compared to 2020. It should be noted that revenue generated through mobile increase from 66% in 2020 to 70% in 2021.

Search will see a strong acceleration in 2021. © Olivier Wyman

Social, less impacted in 2020, shows growth of 22%. This increase is notably due to the dynamics of video (+58% compared to 2020), which today represents 35% of the market.

Social media posted growth of +22%. © Olivier Wyman

Retail media boosted by the explosion of retail search

This edition of the Observatory offers a focus on retail media, which is experiencing very strong growth (+42%), driven in particular by the dynamics of retail search. Thus, its income is divided between:

  • retail search (i.e. revenue from sponsored links in the search engines of retail sites), which will grow by 56% in 2021 to reach €395 million in revenue,
  • display (combining receipts from classic, video and OPS formats), which is up 25% and represents 245 million euros in receipts.
Retail media will record 640 million euros in revenue in 2021. © Olivier Wyman

Live Shopping still embryonic in France

According to the report, the emergence of the so-called “Live Shopping” format contributes in part to the growth of retail media. However, this format, which designates special online sales operations in direct streaming, is still under-exploited in France. The Observatory thus underlines socio-cultural obstacles and a low level of technological maturity, in particular by the absence of major native solutions. In comparison, the growth of retail sales in Live Shopping is 72% per year in the United States and 78% per year in China.

Live Shopping is gaining momentum in the United States and China. © Olivier Wyman

Outlook for 2022

Oliver Wyman forecasts an 18% increase in the digital advertising market in France in 2022, to reach 9 billion euros by the end of the year. Thus, according to the firm, growth should remain sustained thanks to post-Covid digitization, which should continue.

However, the outlook for 2022 is conditioned by certain elements:

  • regulatory changes determined by the CNIL which may impact the marketing and/or the value of inventories,
  • the Digital Service Act (DSA), adopted by the European Parliament, which challenges targeted advertising and reinterprets already existing texts (GDPR and e-Privacy directive),
  • new national texts that may affect the advertising investments of advertisers in certain sectors that are very committed to digital.

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