Affiliate Marketing Statistics: Growth, Trends, Commission Rates

Posted by Darko Radić
affiliate marketing statistics

If you want to learn more about the state of affiliate marketing, you’ve come to the right place. We scoured the web searching for the most relevant data to paint a complete picture and show how affiliates are doing in 2021. Also, we’ll see how tools like SerpWatch can improve your affiliate results.

After all, affiliate marketing is one of the most popular methods for making money online and generating passive income. So, without further ado, here’s what you can expect after joining an affiliate program.

Affiliate Marketing Statistics | Editor’s Choice

  • Affiliate marketing spending in the US could reach $8.2 billion by 2022.
  • Affiliate marketing accounts for 16% of all ecommerce sales in the US and Canada.
  • 90% of advertisers say affiliate marketing is important for their strategies.
  • Most affiliate marketing specialists promote 1‒10 products.
  • More than 50% of affiliate marketing traffic comes from mobile devices.
  • Amazon Associates program has a 35.7% share of the global affiliate market.
  • Amazon affiliates earn up to 10% in commissions.
  • 35% of affiliates earn more than $20,000 a year.

Affiliate Marketing Growth Statistics

The growth of affiliate marketing programs during the last decade has been impressive. Nonetheless, the industry shows no signs of stopping. So, let’s see what the numbers say.

1. By 2022, the overall affiliate marketing spending in the US could reach $8.2 billion.

In the early days of online affiliate marketing, back in 2010, the yearly spending in the US was $1.6 billion. After that, the industry kept growing at a steady pace.

For instance, affiliate marketing stats show that spending in 2017 was $5.4 billion. So, it’s not surprising to see that experts predict further growth in years to come, with affiliate marketing spending expected to exceed $8 billion in 2022.

affiliate marketing spending us

2. 16% of all ecommerce sales in the United States and Canada are generated by affiliate marketing.

As expected, the US market is the primary target for affiliate marketing specialists. Together with Canada, the United States rewards savvy affiliates the most.

For instance, the global affiliate marketing statistics reveal that approximately 64% of affiliates worldwide focus on the US sector.

3. The term “affiliate marketing” is searched 49,500 times every month in the US.

With the rise of online shopping, the affiliate marketing industry grew as well. As a result, many marketers combined content marketing with affiliate links.

On top of that, the search interest for affiliate marketing skyrocketed in the last couple of years. More precisely, the latest affiliate marketing research shows that “affiliate marketing” is searched 1,650 times per day.

4. The overall search interest for the term “affiliate marketing” grew by 233% between 2015 and 2021.

The increasing popularity of affiliate marketing in the US is best described by the whopping increase in search interest in this advertising model.

Namely, Google Trends reveals that the interest in affiliate marketing skyrocketed during the summer of 2020 when COVID-19 was in full swing.google trends for affiliate marketing

5. Almost 90% of advertisers admitted that affiliate programs were important or very important for their marketing strategies.

According to affiliate marketing statistics extracted from a massive Forrester study, nine out of ten advertisers in 2016 said that affiliate marketing was essential. Overall, more than 84% of publishers and 80% of advertisers ran an affiliate marketing scheme.

Furthermore, most publishers said that affiliate partnerships drove over 20% of their annual revenue. Likewise, more than 80% of advertisers invested over 10% of their budget in affiliate marketing.

6. Affiliate marketing spending in the UK grew by 15.1% in 2018.

Affiliate marketing stats in the UK showed that this approach attracted a massive following in this geographic area. Namely, the overall spending on affiliate marketing by 2018 reached £8.9 billion, with a 9.2% year-on-year growth rate.

For example, the spending on affiliate marketing in 2018 reached £554 million, with a 15.1% increase from £482 million in 2017.

7. Amazon offers more than 3 billion items for sale.

Becoming an Amazon affiliate is easy, thanks to a simplified registration process. That’s why most advertisers join the famous Amazon affiliate program.

On top of that, Amazon continues to expand its product base, offering affiliates billions of products to promote.

Affiliate marketing continues to evolve each year, and new ways of doing things appear every once in a while. So, aspiring affiliates must be on their toes and follow the trends that shape the industry.

For instance, here are some methods and ideas that could dominate the affiliate marketing world in 2021.

8. Most affiliate marketers promote 1‒10 products.

To leverage the sales of the affiliate business successfully, most affiliate specialists focus on a specific niche and promote up to ten products on average.

According to the same study, 84% of publishers and 81% of marketers incorporate affiliate marketing into their advertising programs.

9. More than 50% of affiliate-referred traffic comes from mobile devices.

The increasing adoption of mobile devices has affected every aspect of digital advertising, including affiliate marketing. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets to look for products online, and that’s where affiliate programs step onto the scene.

Therefore, marketers looking to increase affiliate marketing profits should optimize websites and make a responsive design. 

10. Gender split for affiliates shows that more men engage with brand promotion.

As evenly as affiliate marketing is popular with both genders, slightly more men seem to be involved in it.

More than half of all affiliates are men—54.23%. Another 47.97% identify as female, with 2.8% not identifying as one of those two options.Gender Split for Affiliates

11. 84% of people say that a brand’s video convinced them to buy a product or service.

Video has climbed to the top of the most used affiliate channels in recent years, and YouTube product reviews attract millions of viewers.

Moreover, 96% of consumers watch videos to learn about products or services, and 69% agree that video is their favorite channel for learning about products. Conversely, affiliate marketing trends for 2021 show that only 18% of people would prefer reading a text-based article to watching a video.

12. 74% of online shoppers in the US check several affiliate websites before completing a purchase.

Another prominent trend among US shoppers is checking multiple websites, and 16% of them admit to visiting more than four affiliate sites before completing a purchase.

Likewise, US online shoppers visit more than two non-retail websites before purchasing. The reason why SEO is important is that every marketer wants their website to be the first choice for consumers. 

13. According to affiliate marketing statistics, Amazon has a 35.7% share of the affiliate market.

As expected, Amazon is the most significant player in the affiliate marketing game because it holds over a third of the market.

But, of course, many other platforms and online stores offer affiliate deals. Primarily, websites like eBay, Shopify, and ClickBank provide the most popular affiliate marketing programs. They offer a vast selection of products from a wide range of industries.

Typical Affiliate Commission Rates

Various factors affect the commission rate, and these reward-based payments vary from one industry to another. So, choosing the best affiliate program and finding the highest commissions could be tricky if you ignore the following statistics.

14. Software and web hosting markets offer up to 30% commission rates.

As far as profitable affiliate programs go, software and web hosting are at the top of the list. Plus, the already massive software niche continues to grow and evolve. For that reason, marketers looking for lucrative affiliate commission rates should consider this sector.

Admittedly, web hosting and software markets are among the most competitive, making it hard to earn commissions in the first place.

15. Fitness and health products can earn affiliate commissions ranging from 15% to 40%.

Depending on the online store and the percentages it offers, fitness and health products can also generate lucrative returns.

In some cases, commission rates can reach 40% even though the average percentage is 15%. Also, influencers attract plenty of attention to this market, which benefits affiliates worldwide.

16. Amazon associates earn up to 10% in commissions.

Amazon affiliate percentages might not be the highest out there, but the volume of products and the overall traffic make everything worth the effort.

Even with the recent cuts in affiliate commissions, Amazon associates earn more than eBay affiliates. Namely, the commissions on this platform range from 1%‒4%, with a maximum payout of $550 for a qualified sale.

17. In April 2020, Amazon reduced commission rates for its affiliate program.

The overall number of affiliate campaigns on Amazon is still growing. Currently, there are 15 independent Amazon Affiliates programs. Of course, the earnings vary, but they typically range from $100 to $20,000 per month.

Yet, Amazon changed its policies in April 2020 and cut commission rates for most product categories. Namely, commission for groceries dropped from 5% to 1%, while affiliate cuts for furniture dropped from 8% to 3%.

Average Affiliate Marketing Costs in 2021

Like affiliate commissions, affiliate costs also vary from one marketer to another. Even so, the overall investments make affiliate marketing appealing to various advertising teams. If you want to learn more about potential expenses, let’s look at the following stats.

18. 63.7% of affiliate marketers spend more than $500 before earning anything from their affiliate marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing is an attractive field because there are no limits to how much you can earn. However, it might take some time before you start generating affiliate marketing income.

On the other hand, there is no set participation fee to start your affiliate business. Yet, approximately two-thirds of marketers spend more than $500 before they start making money.

19. The average monthly budget for running an intermediate-level affiliate program amounts to $3,500, including costs of traffic and online tools.

As we said, there is no set amount for becoming a successful affiliate. Nevertheless, most affiliate marketers set a daily budget of $100 for traffic and then pay around $500 for automation tools.

Even so, the overall affiliate marketing costs still make this advertising model an attractive option for marketers worldwide.

20. 38% of marketers consider affiliate marketing a valuable customer acquisition method.

Despite the costs, affiliate marketing is still worth getting into. Therefore, many advertisers use affiliate programs as customer acquisition channels.

In essence, more than a third of marketers see affiliate programs as ideal methods for bringing in customers and increasing brand awareness. So, that’s why many use affiliate marketing alongside email marketing and other methods.

Affiliate Marketing Revenue Statistics for 2021

Affiliate marketing can be profitable as long as you show enough commitment and dedication. Best of all, there’s no limit to potential earnings with affiliate marketing, but the revenue depends on a series of factors. Let’s look at the latest statistics related to this aspect of affiliate marketing.

21. 73% of merchants confirm that revenue from affiliate marketing has met their expectations.

According to reports, more than two-thirds of marketers meet their initial affiliate marketing revenue estimate and generate satisfying profits.

Given that content marketing statistics show that 69.6% of marketers invest in content optimization, it’s clear why people read affiliate articles and buy recommended products.

22. 86% of publishers expect that their affiliate revenue will stay consistent or increase in the future.

Arguably, no one would bother with affiliate marketing if this advertising model wasn’t profitable. That’s why affiliate marketing revenue plays a crucial role, and most marketers are satisfied with the results. 

Also, a whopping 91% of merchants plan to increase their affiliate marketing budgets in the future.

23. 51% of companies report that their referral programs are very effective at maintaining sales pipelines.

Affiliate marketing is all about increasing sales, and referral programs are almost identical to traditional affiliate models because these two concepts share the same goals.

Well, the latest affiliate marketing reports show that 70% of companies were on the right track to meet or exceed their revenue goals after using referral programs. The most likely reason for the high success rate is that referred customers and products are deeper down the sales funnel.

24. On average, high-level affiliates earn more than $3,000 a day.

Becoming a high-level affiliate is not an easy task, and only a handful of marketers and advertising teams build extremely successful affiliate networks.

According to affiliate marketing average income, high-earning affiliates make more than $3,000 every day. That’s why affiliate marketing is a perfect option for anyone looking to generate passive income online.

25. Beginners in affiliate marketing earn up to $300 a day.

Beginnings are always difficult, regardless of the industry—affiliate marketing is no different. 

Typically, total beginners in affiliate marketing will have a negative ROI because of initial investments. However, they should quickly see improvements in their affiliate ROI and generate up to $300 a day.

26. 30% of affiliates earn $40,000 or less per year.

Nowadays, most affiliate marketers make up to $20,000 per year, but at the same time, many go beyond this mark.

More precisely, about a third of affiliates earn $40,000 or less. Moreover, 18.2% of that 30% make less than $20,000 a year. On the other hand, more than 17% make over $1 million. 

27. The average Amazon affiliate conversion rate is 0.5% to 1%.

With affiliate marketing, conversion rates show the percentage of visitors who purchase a product via your affiliate link out of the website’s total number of visitors. Thus, conversion rates are essential for the overall returns on investment in affiliate marketing.

As such, in the ever-changing affiliate landscape, conversion rates are among the most valuable metrics for measuring the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It? | The Takeaway

Since the inception of affiliate marketing, every marketer has asked the same question: Can you really make money with affiliate marketing? While the answer is yes, this advertising model offers other benefits as well.

Primarily, you can start an affiliate program with a low budget and have low ongoing expenses. Plus, cost-effective tools like SerpWatch can also reduce the investment cost while providing good results. On top of that, this advanced rank tracker sends notifications and offers all the integrations you could ever need for jaw-dropping affiliate marketing growth.

We can conclude that affiliate marketing offers a high ROI as long as you play by the book and follow the best practices. So, SEO and proper keyword research are necessary, alongside a multi-channel approach to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing programs will be fruitful if you incorporate those elements and rank high in SERPs. That’s why affiliate marketing is still relevant and worth the effort.

Frequently Asked Questions | FAQ

How much do affiliate marketers make?

Although affiliate marketing is not as profitable as it used to be a couple of years ago, it can still provide decent returns. But, of course, it all depends on the industry and the product you promote since commissions vary from one market to another.

Nevertheless, the average annual passive income for affiliate marketers, according to PayScale, is $51,779. More precisely, the bottom 10% of marketers earn approximately $38,000 a year, while the top 10% make around $90,000. On the other hand, Glassdoor’s data says that the average yearly earnings for affiliate marketers are around $66,000.

How many affiliate marketers are there?

Many companies don’t report the number of affiliates, so it’s almost impossible to determine the exact number of affiliate marketers. Even so, the industry is massive, which means that the number of affiliates is also huge. 

For example, there are more than 11,400 affiliate programs in the US alone. ShareASale, one of the biggest affiliate platforms, has 5,594 affiliate programs. Together with Amazon Associates and Rakuten’s network, these platforms attract dozens of thousands of affiliate marketers.

What is the average affiliate marketing percentage?

In essence, affiliate programs are performance-based systems, and affiliates receive a percentage of every sale. So, the more products you promote successfully, the more commissions you will earn. 

Typically, the modern affiliate programs offer commissions ranging between 5% and 30%. Yet, many affiliate programs will also provide a 3% rate for some products. Either way, the most common percentages are 5% and 10%, depending on the industry.

How big is the affiliate marketing industry?

Affiliate marketing systems benefit both the sellers and marketers, with affiliate platforms profiting as well. Since almost everyone wins, the game continues, attracting new participants worldwide.

For example, Statista reports that affiliate marketing spending in the US alone has reached $7.4 billion. But, of course, further growth is expected, and affiliate spending in the US could reach $8.2 billion in 2022. Overall, the global worth of the affiliate marketing industry is approximately $12 billion and growing.

Is affiliate marketing still profitable?

Affiliate marketing is older than the internet itself, but its popularity skyrocketed when Amazon, eBay, and similar platforms stepped onto the scene. In the last decade, many things have changed in the affiliate marketing industry. And yet, the overall spending increased alongside the number of affiliate programs.

Thanks to the rise of mobile devices, affiliate marketing became even more accessible and rewarding. Likewise, SEO practices improved the quality of affiliate websites, attracting more consumers. All in all, affiliate marketing is still relevant, and it can be highly profitable.

What percentage does Amazon pay affiliates?

In the early days, Amazon offered lucrative commissions and rewarded affiliates for promoting products. As a result, many affiliates and influencers earned millions from running affiliate programs. 

Yet, in 2020, Amazon announced a plan to reduce commissions for many product categories. So, members of the Amazon Associates program have had lower commission rates since April 2021. For example, affiliate marketing statistics reveal that the affiliates’ cut for home improvement products and furniture has dropped from 8% to 3%.


Sources: Affise, Business2Community, CNBC, CyberCash Worldwide, Finance Magnates, Google Trends, IAB, Inkwell Editorial, Investopedia, MediaKix, Rakuten Advertising, Rewardful, Statista, VigLink, Wyzowl, Zeropark

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