How much Growth is predicted for the Affiliate Industry?

The face of retail and sales has changed dramatically since the advent of the internet. The way we shop for clothes, groceries, electronics and hundreds of other items may no longer involve a walk to the high street, or a car or bus ride into town. The days of peering longingly into shop windows gazing at a much-coveted item have almost ceased to exist.

Since the arrival of the internet and the birth of Amazon in 1996 the retail market has morphed into a frenzy of online ordering and generated new purchasing trends. This, in turn, has given rise to Affiliate Marketing, the process of advertising and promoting items and services and receiving a sales commission on items that you do not hold in stock.

As the new kid on the block Affiliate Marketing started out slowly but quickly gained momentum over the past 2 decades. So just how much growth is predicted for the Affiliate Industry in the coming years?

affiliate marketing trends

Future Affiliate Marketing Growth

As we have already discovered the Affiliate Marketing industry has realized some impressive growth numbers dating back a while, but it gathered real momentum starting in 2015. Since that year the industry has reported a 10% overall growth every year.

Affiliate marketing spending is on the rise, as people turn to the internet more and more to make their purchases online the numbers continue to increase. Annual affiliate spending on products and services spurred on by the consistent 10% growth is realizing some impressive numbers.

According to recent study, the annual spending via Affiliate Marketing channels, networks and websites is expected to hit a total of $6.8 Billion by the year 2020. As this cost-effective way of promotion and marketing is not showing signs of slowing down the future numbers may easily surpass that figure.

Affiliate Marketing Historic Trends

The concept of Affiliate Marketing can be traced back to 1989 to William J Tobin who first used the idea to help promote his website that sold gifts and flowers. His forward thinking paid off and his affiliate marketing efforts earned him a total of $6 Million.

The industry really started to gain traction when tracking cookies were invented in 1994 and a crop of affiliate programs began to crop up. Shortly after, affiliate marketing networks like Commission Junction, Share a Sale and Clickbank began to appear.

Industries that Use Affiliate Marketing

Since around 2015 Affiliate Marketing has hit somewhat of a growth spurt. The industry as a whole has reported consistent growth each year since that time. It is a worldwide industry and all indicators point to that growth level continuing to at least 2021. Globally, Affiliate Marketing is worth in excess of $12 Billion.

There are over 80% of brands that generate some kind of income from Affiliate Marketing efforts and Fashion products lead the pack with around 20% of the overall market. Sport and Outdoors account for almost 15% and Health and Wellness is approximately 11%.

Other Predicted Trends

According to Cloudways recent article, there are several fast-growing trends that may impact the world of affiliate marketing in 2019. These include the following –

Influencer Marketing Growth

Influencer Marketing is the process of product promotion using an influential or popular person to raise the product profile. The hope is that the fans or follows of the influencer will spend money to invest in the product or service that the influencer recommends.

By 2017 search terms for influencer marketers had increased by a whopping 300% indicating a high amount of interest. Recent Twitter data indicates that people trust influencers just a much as their own friends making this a powerful marketing strategy to employ.

Voice Search

The days of typing your question into a search engine bar are becoming outdated. As mobile devices and voice-activated home devices like Alexa continue to develop, voice search is becoming more popular. Recent estimates indicate that by 2020 almost 50% of all internet searches will be performed by voice.

For affiliate marketers, this means that they can make efforts to leverage user intent to position themselves for success. Local searches also feature prominently in voice searches so marketers will need to make sure their content and SEO is optimized as such.

Mobile Devices will rule

It is no secret that mobile devices have been used increasingly to access the web, social media and make online purchases. This trend is set to continue and rise in the coming years. Mobile devices are the primary method that most people will use to manage their online needs.

This means that affiliate marketers will need to ensure that their website, products, and online advertising efforts are all geared to and optimized for the mobile user. Failure to optimize correctly will mean missed opportunities and wasted advertising dollars.

Affiliate Marketing vs Email Marketing

Email Marketing has long held the top spot as the primary marketing method for generating online sales. Almost every company you can think of or website that you visit will offer you an incentive or make some kind of effort to encourage you to provide your email to them so that they may keep in contact with you. Your email address is then used to send you special offers, deals, coupons, and a whole host of buying incentives designed to get you to make a purchase.

However, email marketings position as the undisputed leader may be challenged very soon. Affiliate Marketing has recently equaled email marketing numbers and all recent data seems to indicate that Affiliate Marketing will surpass email marketing this year (2019) to reign supreme.

Affiliate Marketing as a Business

Due to the global success of Affiliate Marketing hundreds and thousands of people have jumped on the bandwagon. With minimal knowledge, people can generate a website that promotes and sells their chosen products and earns them a commission.

All over the world, website owners have studied, tweaked, promoted and busied themselves learning about things like search engine ranking and SEOin order to get the most visitors to their sites and generate sales income.

Their efforts are paying off too! More than 35% of internet marketers earn an income from their websites that exceeds $20,000. Out of those 35% over 12% make in excess of $75000.

Last year the most successful affiliate marketer achieved $7 million in revenue from his sites.

Interest in Affiliate Marketing is on the ride too. Between 2017 and 2018 internet searches for the term ‘affiliate marketing’ saw a 44% growth.

Who are Affiliate Marketers?

Anyone. Really, absolutely anyone can learn how to build a website, target a niche, and promote and sell their chosen products online to earn a commission. There is a prevalence of male internet marketers vs female.

A whole hosts of affiliate marketing training platforms and networks have been developed, for a fee, of course, to assist marketers in reaching their goals effectively by way of tried and tested strategies and providing ongoing training and support.

To date, current statistics show that across all affiliate marketers, products, and industries there are around 52% male marketers and 43% female marketers.  Most users whether male or female chose to promote between 1 and 10 products on average.

Why do Affiliate Marketers do it?

The ease of use factors highly in the decision to become an affiliate marketer. In addition, even though it is not as easy as people may think to start creating sales revenue, it is a relatively low cost to no cost business to start.

There is no stock or inventory to hold or by and shipping is handled by someone else. The biggest investment is time and education. The time it takes to create a site and promote it online, and education to learn techniques such as SEO or how to drive traffic to generate income.

Of course, money can be invested in adverting and promoting the website or its products but this is completely discretionary and any spend or investment is controlled by the Affiliate Marketer.

The business also has the benefit of being completely flexible with many Affiliate Marketers working entirely from home or their local coffee shop. It is also flexible with the ability to schedule hours worked around other obligations or responsibilities.


From the industry trends and data collected, we can ascertain the following  –

  • Affiliate Marketing will undoubtedly increase
  • Mobile devices will move to the fore
  • Voice searches will increase
  • Influencer Marketing will rise
  • Spend will reach at least $6.8 million in 2020
  • Affiliate Marketing will continue to grow at 10% per year until 2021

If Affiliate Marketing is something that you are considering starting then you are getting in at a good time. As a business, it will continue to see good revenue and strong growth for at least the next few years.

Should you be looking for more information or would like to find a reliable Affiliate Marketing training program or network partners there is plenty of information contained on this website.

It is always worth investigating and companies or products you choose to determine their legitimacy. Many are reputable but they are always plenty of scammers out there so take your time and always do your research.