If you think you saw a lot Amazon TV commercials throughout November, you’re not alone. The ecommerce giant, No. 1 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, spent $78 million on TV commercials from Oct. 28-Dec. 2, according to Kantar’s Media division.

While overall TV spending was down 5% among retail brands during the first half of holiday season, defined by Kantar as Oct. 28-Dec. 2, Amazon’s spending jumped 84%. The next biggest increase among the 10 largest spenders were Gap Inc.-owned Old Navy, which grew its TV budget 21% to $27 million, and Lowe’s, which allocated $36 million to TV, a 19% increase compared to the previous year, according to Kantar. Gap is No. 28 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, and Lowe’s is No. 23.

Amazon’s aggressive TV spending is a recent development for the retail giant given that last year was the first time that it ranked among the 10 largest TV advertisers over the holidays. This year it pushed into the lead the position, spending $9 million more than Walmart, No. 3, which spent $69 million, a 14% decline from its 2018 spending over the same period, Kantar finds.

Despite a number of retailers cutting back their spending in the first four weeks of the holidays, TV advertising spend rose 7.2% the week of Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving was six days later than last year, many merchants used their commercials to emphasize their limited discounts and promotions.

“Retailers are returning to trying to create a sense of urgency,” says Rachel Gurksky, who oversees content marketing at Kantar.

That’s been evident throughout the first half of the holidays as 18.1% of retail brands’ commercials have featured Black Friday-specific messages. And the number of commercials featuring Black Friday-specific messages was up 23% overall, according to Kantar. For example, Walmart used TV spots to highlight its online discounts that launched the day before Thanksgiving and its offline offers that began at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

While many retailers highlighted their Black Friday sales on TV, far fewer used the term Cyber Monday to promote their online promotions that began on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Retailers only spent $15 million on Cyber Monday-related messages, a…

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