Do Affiliates Drive $230 Billion in Sales to Top 1000 US e-Retailers?

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Have you heard of the Internet Retailer’s new Top Tech 2014 Guide yet? This is an eBook based on their 2012 research of “the leading solutions providers to America’s top 1,000 retailers.” Among the providers analyzed they also looked into “affiliate marketing vendors” used by North America’s leading 1,000 e-retailers. They have ranked these based on “the combined 2012 online sales figures” of their “clients ranked in the Top 1000.”

Do not mistake these for affiliate-driven sales (which originally surprised me in this table). They were total online sales for each network’s IR Top 1,000 clients. Here’s the chart:

2012 Top Affiliate Marketing Vendors

It is interesting to see that some 98.9% of all above-quoted 2012 sales, or nearly $232 billion, were placed with online stores that have their affiliate programs on the top 5 networks: Commission Junction ($137.4b), LinkShare ($43.9b), Google Affiliate Network ($37.9b), eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network ($9.3b), and ShareASale ($3.3b). With Google Affiliate Network out of the game now, we should really be taking “top 4″ and not “top 5″ now.

About Geno Prussakov

CEO & Founder of AM Navigator – an award-winning OPM agency. Founder & Chair of Affiliate Management Days conference. Author of bestselling "A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing" (2007) and "Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day" (2011), speaker, consultant, and affiliate marketing evangelist.

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7 Responses to “Do Affiliates Drive $230 Billion in Sales to Top 1000 US e-Retailers?”

  1. Eric Nagel says:

    I wonder where Amazon falls on this list, with their own in-house network? IF Amazon does $61b in net sales, and just 5% are affiliate-driven sales, that puts them at #6, right? But I don’t think Amazon reveals any figures about their affiliate (associates) program, do they?

    • I don’t believe they do, Eric.

      However, you bring up a very good point (about them leaving Amazon out). With AMZN owning some 1/4 of all U.S. online sales, and having one of the oldest and most developed affiliate programs out there, the overall number should be at least 25% higher with them included.

      BTW, where does the 5% (as far as “affiliate-driven sales”) comes from? I’ve heard 20%-40% before.

  2. Per this article in 2012 U.S. consumers spent $225.5 billion online. If Amazon.com reaped $61.1 billion of that amount (which is also supported by this source), it works out that they, actually, own some 27% of e-commerce in the country! Wow…

  3. Ali Gammack says:

    Just shared that stat with a couple of my colleagues Geno and lets just say some jaws dropped!

  4. So did mine, Ali, when I initially saw the table. But then when you realize that (a) these are not affiliate sales, and (b) some of them are, actually, double-counted (if you add up the above-quoted ones, you will arrive at $234.37b whereas we know that in 2012 online sales amounted to $225.5b, and the IR’s table is missing Amazon’s $61.1b) – probably because many merchants run affiliate programs on multiple networks/platforms – it makes it a pretty confusing table.

  5. Interesting data. Another thing to consider is that some of the advertisers are on more than one network/platform. I am not sure how they account for this in their numbers – especially if they are running their top partners in a private program on one platform and running the long tail on a public network. I am looking forward to revised 2013 numbers without GAN. Also, the person compiling this data doesn’t quite get it – since they included Gen3 as a “vendor”.

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