Expenditure on US internet advertising tumbled nearly 15% to $2.5 billion (€2.9bn; £1.8bn) last year, according to CMRi.

The biggest online advertiser in 2001 was eBay, which spent $45 million, overtaking the previous year’s leader General Motors, pushed into second place by almost $2m. Third came Providian ($29m), then Amazon.com ($28m) and Barnes & Noble ($26m).

Meanwhile, Yahoo! retained its spot as recipient of the most ad dollars, taking $344m in 2001. Other big advertising outlets included AOL.com ($320m), Excite ($127m) and Lycos ($111m).

Despite the decline in online spend last year, CMRi believes the sector will recover this year to expansion of around 9%.

“With the year 2002 already showing some signs of improvement, we’re expecting to see an upswing in spending by third quarter,” commented David Peeler, president/ceo of the research group’s parent, Taylor Nelson Sofres-owned CMR. “In fact, CMR estimates that internet spending will lead the way in 2002, in terms of significant growth.”

Data sourced from: MediaWeek.com (USA); additional content by WARC staff