Spring seems to have finally sprung into action weather-wise, so we’ve rounded up the most important retail and ecommerce stats of the past few weeks and taken a look at what to make of them.
Keep an eye out for our ecommerce summer round-up in a few months time!
Two thirds of UK ecommerce traffic is now via mobile
Mobile commerce traffic in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the year made up 65% of all ecommerce traffic, according to a Similar Web mobile marketing report. This is the largest percentage of all seven of the countries included in the study (the report studied the top 25 shopping sites in each). Similar Web points to the fact that the sales of a number of the top shopping sites in the UK are over 70% mobile, and that they focus and rely heavily on mobile traffic.
However, the report also confirmed that users spend more time, and visit more pages, on desktop rather than mobile devices. The average page views for a desktop user visiting a retail site was 13.6, whilst mobile views were 7.6, with the time spent on a desktop site at two minutes more than mobile.
Two thirds of fashion traffic is also via mobile, with nearly half of all transactions taking place on a mobile device, according to Affiliate Window’s Fashion Focus 2016 whitepaper. It points to ‘fast fashion’ (with a young demographic and low basket values) as a sector that particularly ‘lends itself to mobile handsets’.
The home delivery and click-and-collect market in the UK is predicted to double
Both home delivery and click-and-collect of online purchases will double by 2025, at the expense of in-store sales, according to a report by OC&C Strategy Consultants. It pointed to the fact that in 2005 only 9% of retail sales used home delivery and less than 1% used click-and-collect, whilst by 2015 this had risen to 19% and 3% respectively, to estimate this rise.
Click-and-collect itself was a key theme at the Internet Retailing Expo this year, with the head of online operations development at Sainsbury’s stating that click-and-collect “serves some customer missions, but not all”, but the head of customer proposition and delivery at New Look asserting that click-and-collect was important to them, accounting for 35% of their total sales.
With click-and-collect quickly becoming an option that online shoppers expect to be offered, and OC&C’s head of retail, Anita Balchandi, declaring that as six out of ten shoppers “abandon their baskets online because of issues relating to the last mile”, it is no longer enough to offer only limited delivery options. However, with click-and-collect costing retailers up to four times more than in-store purchases, Balchandi points to the US practice of forming click-and-collect partnerships as a solution, including Uniqlo customers being able to collect their purchases from 7-Eleven stores.
With high street visitor numbers down, 20% of UK retail sales took place online in February
20% of UK retail sales took place online in February, evidencing clear shifts in shopping habits, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium. Online sales outperformed physical shops in most categories studied, most noticeable in clothing, with 27.6% of clothing sales made online. The chief executive of the BRC called the UK “a global leader in online retail sales” and points to the “considerable investment British retailers continue to make in their online channels” as an explanation for this.
Online sales then grew by 11% in March according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, with smartphone transactions doubling. Conversion rates were 50% higher in Q1 compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, high street visitor numbers fell by 4% in March, BRC analysis also reported. Overall shopping footfall (which includes retail parks and shopping centres) was down by 2.7%, although visitor numbers to retail parks bucked the downward trend by growing 1.6% year-on-year.
The average conversion rate on product pages is 7.91%
A new study from Receiptful, surveying over 2500 online retail sites, found that the average conversion rate on product pages sites was 7.91%, whilst certain ‘ecommerce unicorns’ manage to convert nearly half of their product page traffic into sales. It also found that the bigger the ecommerce site, the better the product conversion rates, with brands with the highest sales having better PCR that smaller sites.
It points to the theory that larger organisations have more resources to invest in optimising their customer experience than smaller brands, as well as marketing campaigns leading to more product recognition, and suggest that smaller companies focus their attention on their product pages, and make improvements including faster loading time, price comparisons, stock quantities, the inclusion of both positive and negative reviews and high-quality 360-degree photos, amongst other recommendations.
The UK’s slowest retail sites have too much third-party content
A new Web Performance Benchmark from NCC Group looked at the UK’s top 50 retail sites in Q1, and found that on average, sites were slow to start rendering and to finish loading. With 0.75 seconds as the recommended maximum render start time, UK retail sites averaged at 3.18 seconds to start rendering. 11.43 seconds was the average load time. However, 66% of sites did render progressively and prioritised important content.
NCC studied the 10 fastest compared to the 10 slowest sites using a custom metric called Speed Index, and found that the slowest homepages contained over 7x more third-party content than the fastest-loading sites. (Third-party content included advertising, testing or remarketing services).