State of Retail Media in Europe2022-07-01T15:37:46+02:00

State of Retail Media in Europe [report]

This research report is based on interviews of 11 experts representing 4 types of players in the retail media ecosystem.
Research carried out by Anders Hjorth and Marie Crolard.


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The Emergence of Retail Media

For many years, retail marketing was about driving users to a retail outlet and then maximizing the order value. This model could even be applied to ecommerce: Generate traffic to your ecommerce website then incite users to buy your products once there. But in the world of multitasking, of mobility, of zapping and of marketplaces, the notion of ubiquity has changed. With the arrival of the digital space, the physical process of separating the marketing from the sale is crumbling.

You no longer decide at home what to buy, then physically move into the buying space. It all happens at once, the zero moment of truth as Google calls it, that moment when you start searching without necessarily having any established buying intent yet. Amazon was a bookstore, then a superstore and a retail outlet, then became a marketplace and is now the leading retail media followed by a host of local pure players, of omnichannel click-and-bricks players and retailers turning marketplaces providing differentiated and appealing alternatives.

Brands had become used to trade marketing. Now they are organising for retail media which appears as a massive marketing opportunity in 2022, whether they have an Amazon-fit or not.

Welcome to the world of retail media with a special focus on Europe in 2022

State of Retail Media in Europe

State of Retail Media in Europe

  • The Rise of Retail Media
  • The Retail Media Ecosystem in Europe
  • The Place for Brands in Retail Media
  • The Retail Media Future

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Rise of Retail Media 

drivers of retail media growth

Retail media has emerged as the trade marketing of the digital age. It is pioneered by pure players, and its growth is supported by the sustained development of ecommerce at levels of 15–25% per annum. A shift in consumer behaviour from product search in traditional search engines to searches in retail channels sup­ports the system, and the ongoing collection of monetizable user data is nurturing this emerging advertising system.

Retail media is the third wave of digital marketing. In the triopoly of digital advertising, Amazon Ads, the leader of retail media, is catching up on Meta (Facebook) and Google. We track this evolution in blog posts on Innovell.com. Retail media is challenging search advertising and social ads, leveraging audience data and using similar auction models to that of their peers. This is a strong revenue driver as the advertising channel grows further.

The Retail Media Ecosystem in Europe

The retail media ecosystem resides in the space between consumers and brands. Where it was traditionally occupied solely by retailers, the online dimension is now occupied by a system of on- and offline retailers, marketplaces, ad tech and agencies.

european retail mediaThe European landscape of marketplaces is a mix of large international pure players and local pure players, vertical marketplaces, and click-and-bricks. Amazon is the pioneering online marketplace and also pos­sesses the biggest and preferred retail advertising solution. The top players vary from country to country; however, they all share the common characteristic of being retail media enabled via more or less advanced solutions and, for the most part, provided by ad tech operators such as Criteo Retail Media or CitrusAd.

The strong growth of ecommerce and the focus on the commercial offering has allowed retail media to enjoy a high level of awareness. It is, however, deemed to exhibit a low level of maturity, having emerged recently and only just begun to enter a growth phase. Growth will be stimulated by more retailers launching marketplaces and further investment in ad tech from pure players and ad tech operators. The shift from untrackable trade marketing to optimisable retail media will further stimulate this shift.

Retail networks and visionary marketplaces are providing omnichannel solutions targeting more complete coverage of the user journey and differentiated positioning. Ad tech operators are adopting a ‘platformisa­tion’ strategy, which involves connecting retail media assets across markets to increase the accessibility of the offering to brands. These movements are all testaments to an extremely dynamic landscape with many moving parts, which can be difficult for brands to navigate.

The Place for Brands in Retail Media

Brands invest in retail media to generate further profitable sales, gain consumer insights that they are oth­erwise distant from, and develop a top-of-mind awareness of their products. Brands encounter numerous obstacles when entering the space. They must position themselves in each marketplace in terms of brand fit, product assortment and pricing. Uncontrolled distribution and pricing policies can create cannibalisation between channels and affect profitability. For control and to pilot retail media, brands face complex track­ing and measurement challenges, especially when incorporating offline activities into the scope. This is the notable reason for trade marketing to be increasingly absorbed by retail media activities.

five steps to retail media successFrom an organisation’s standpoint, brands evolve organically to ascertain the appropriate organisation of commerce and marketing around a retail media initiative. However, even when a fluid organisation is im­plemented, it can be a challenge to market successfully to users in the retail channels along the entire user journey and not just at the conversion point.

A final hurdle for a broad retail media deployment is the fragmentation of the landscape: different technol­ogies, different economic models, and different formats.

To address these challenges and aim for success in retail media, we propose a plan consisting of five steps for brands: put retail media in the org chart, build the go-to-market mix, line up the digital assets, connect the data dots, and accelerate with advertising.

The Retail Media Future

retail media and programmatic

We explore some of the most significant trends in the business area and propose a perspective trajectory for its potential transformation in the coming years.

What will take retail media to maturity? How will the commercial offering become more accessible to brands? Will retail media jump onto the social commerce trend and become a brand-building opportunity? Finally, what will be the horizon for integrating retail media with other programmatic advertising, and will it transpire?

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Mentions of the report

Retail Search is the New PPC – PPC Heroblog


Retail Media in Marketplaces in 2022 – a European Focus


Lengow report page


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