Australian retailers are the biggest spenders on media advertising, according to The Nielsen Company’s Top Media Advertisers report for the calendar year 2010.

In the research, it found that the industry spent $2.18 billion on advertising in 2010, which is a 7 per cent increase from 2009. These results account for almost 22 cents of every advertising dollar invested in main media.

It led all other categories including motor vehicles, entertainment, finance and real estate.

Parent company of Coles and Bunnings, Wesfarmers came in as the top advertiser, having spent $238.9 million in 2010, up 15 per cent from 2009. This was followed by Woolworths that spent $166.2 million, which is a 17.7 per cent increase from the previous year. Harvey Norman came in third place with $145.2 million.

Peter Cornelius, The Nielsen Company managing director, said the overall trend across the top 25 advertisers was “very optimistic”.

He also noted that despite global financial markets retaining a cautiously optimistic stance, the advertising sector in the first few months of 2011 is already maintaining growth over 2010.