What is Affiliate Marketing Online - Is it Profitable

Last Update: January 05, 2021

Now that it is 2021 and the entire world is still in the grasp of a partial economic shutdown, now is the perfect time for creating another source of income. Even though the in-store retail market was already shrinking, this global pandemic has accelerated that decline. But there is hope.


Affiliate marketing is a process where you become a partner or an affiliate with another person or company that sells products or services online. You promote or recommend the products being sold by either the person or company and get paid a commission for each sale.

Now I am not sure what it exactly looks like where you live. Every place is experiencing some level of economic collapse. Here in northeast New Jersey, in the New York City metro area, many businesses are open but many smaller shops have gone out of business.

As I drive around it saddens me to see many of the mom & pop shops, the small businesses that people had dreams of starting, either with their windows papered over or with For Rent signs in their windows. Like I said, this pandemic has accelerated the decline of retail.

Back in May 2019, I wrote a WA Blog called The Death of Retail Stores - Is Amazon to Blame? In it I listed 6,616 well-known retail stores that were either closing some stores or going out of business. Notably most of the one's with affiliate programs were surviving.

Did you know, in 2020...

  • 80% of brands use Affiliate Marketing to generate leads (Mediakix)
  • 15% to 30% of company sales come from Affiliate Marketing (Sales Camp)
  • Global Affiliate Marketing industry does $12 Billion in yearly sales (Rakuten Marketing)
  • U.S. Affiliate Marketing spending is growing by 10.1% each year (Mediakix)
  • Affiliate Marketing in the U.S. alone has reached $6.8 Billion in yearly sales (Statista)
  • 45% of bloggers prefer Affiliate Marketing over ads because it doesn't harm UX (VigLink)
  • 84% of bloggers use Affiliate Marketing to monetize their content (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Interest in the search term "Affiliate Marketing" is consistently rising (Google Trends)


The simple answer is, affiliate marketing was already popular BEFORE the economic collapse that started in early 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic. Now that more people are stuck indoors they are shopping online more and more, giving the affiliate marketer lots of opportunities.

With so many people shopping online for practically everything, and with thousands upon thousands of niches to choose from, now is the time to start making money with affiliate marketing online. Whether you do so with a website (recommended) or without, just do it!

This blog is a continuation of information I just published on my Legitimate Job From Hone website. In the post called, "What is the Best Home Based Online Business in 2021" I provide similar stats, help my readers to understand niches, and direct them to the WA training.

Between my website post and this one, I want to impress upon people just how opportunistic this time period can be. With people being home, they are spending far more time online. Take advantage of this opportunity and use affiliate marketing to create another stream of income.

Do not procrastinate. Get serious and start the WA training if you just joined or finish and get your website established. Do not waste your time being a social butterfly in the community when you should be building your website. Do not assume the economy will get better soon.


Back in April and May 2020 I wrote a blog warning people not to think the economy would rebound anytime soon. No matter what you believe is the reason for the economy tanking, only YOU have the power to make things work out for you. Affiliate Marketing is the answer.

In those 2020 Affiliate Marketing stats that I listed above, I mentioned that the Global Affiliate Marketing industry was estimated in creating $12 Billion in yearly sales by the start of 2020. I am thinking that amount must be higher because of the explosion in online product purchases.

Though the below graph is for the U.S. alone, the global total tends to be twice as much. When Rakuten Marketing, formerly known as LinkShare the largest affiliate marketing network, said that global sales would reach $12 Billion in 2020, they also estimated $6.8 Billion for the U.S.

As we can see, affiliate marketing is estimated to continue to climb in 2021 and 2022. It is important to note, this projection was made near the end of 2019, so you can be sure those totals will be more now that online shopping is skyrocketing. You can benefit from it.

Affiliate marketing is so lucrative you can make money in it without a website, though you have a better chance with a website. How is that possible? There are many affiliate programs that do not require you to have a website to join and earn. Wealthy Affiliate is one of them.

In fact, I make money from three affiliate programs and I do not have a website for any of them yet. That's the beauty of affiliate marketing online. You can still make money with and without a website. Again, I recommend a website because you can reach a broader audience.

So...Are you pumped up? Has the information I shared given you some motivation to take advantage of the current economic situation and get your affiliate marketing websites going? If yes, take and finish the WA training! If you have any questions, please leave them below.


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Dhind1 Premium Plus
I agree with you it is sad to see the closed and shuttered shops lining the streets. 2020 is a very hard year for small business.

I live in a tourist trap in Thailand, and normally there are 40 million tourists that come to Thailand every year. With the exception of January to March when there were 6.9 million tourists who came before the shutdown, there have been zero tourists from April to November. There have been a few hundred in November and December, but that is it.

Many stores and bars have closed up shop because there simply is no people to sell to. Yes, indeed, 2020 is a hard year.

I agree with you that affiliate marketing and selling online is the way forward.

Note: some bars here have managed to make online sales, simply by asking online viewers to buy drinks. Surprisingly enough it has worked for them.

Strange but true.

boomergp08 Premium
WOW! No tourists from April to November? That is a very long time. When we were closed down here in the NY City area at the height of the pandemic in early 2020, bars were offering food and beer, no hard alcohol, from online sales. Then you could drive there and pick it up. Some bars would deliver it too.
drjec Premium
I have been an affiliate marketer for awhile yet did not know the statistics that you quoted in this article. When 80% of stores have affiliate programs, that means this business model is here to stay. I think that your comprehensive explanation of the what, why and how of affiliate marketing will help a lot of people in this difficult time.
boomergp08 Premium
I hope in does help a lot of people in these difficult times. Like the saying goes, "When life gives you lemons make lemonade." Those who have the time and desire to change their financial situation should take advantage of what is happening now.

When I started affiliate marketing 7+ years ago I didn't realize how beneficial it could be. One thing is for certain, if you do not put in the time to work and grow your business, it will be difficult to earn an income. Like every business, it takes dedication and patience.

I agree about the 80%. With so many stores using affiliate marketing and the fast rise in online shopping, affiliate marketing is not going anywhere anytime soon. Just look at all of things a person can purchase online. The future looks bright for AM.
Sebastian089 Premium
Great information. Affiliate marketing will always climb. Thank you for sharing!
boomergp08 Premium
Thank you Sebastian. I see no signs that affiliate marketing will ever decline. The more people shop online, the more affiliate marketing grows.
Thanks for the encouragement
boomergp08 Premium
It was my pleasure Brenda.
Joes946 Premium
Robert, as always, you nailed it!
boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Joe! Happy you enjoyed my post and Happy New Year!
Joes946 Premium
And to you.