Online Retail Sales Decline in Q2; Social Shopping Falls

July 17, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Mobile Phone | Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media

ibm-online-retail-in-q2-keystats-july2012.pngOnline retail sales decreased 2.3% quarter-over-quarter in Q2, despite average order values (AOV) increasing by 2.3%, per new figures released by IBM. Total US retail sales in June also fell for the 3rd consecutive month, according to US Commerce Department data. The IBM report shows mobile to be a bright point, though, with sales from mobile devices increasing from 13.1% in Q1 to 15.1% in Q2. The iPhone was the top device in terms of retail traffic, at 8.2%, though Android surpassed the iPad in Q2, at 6.8% and 6.7%, respectively.

Social Shopping Falls; Pinterest Users Window Shop

Further data from the IBM report indicates that shoppers referred from social networks accounted for 1.3% of all online traffic during Q2, a small increase from 1.1% the previous quarter. Even so, shoppers referred to retail sites from social networks generated just 1.9% of all online sales, down from 2.4% in Q1.

A similar discrepancy between traffic and sales can be found in the case of Pinterest, according to Jirafe data reported by Forbes. Examining the behavior of 89 million online shoppers who visited Jirafe’s clients’ 5,000 online stores in the past year, the company found that conversion rates for traffic referred from Pinterest (0.1%) trailed other sources such as Twitter (0.2%), Facebook (0.3%), Google (0.9%), and Bing (1.3%). A recent study of Q1 e-commerce data from Monetate also found conversion rates for search traffic (2.83%) to be far higher than social traffic (0.38%).

The Jirafe data also found AOV for traffic from other sources to be far higher than Pinterest. Traffic from Twitter (5.3x), Google (3.45x), Facebook (2.5x), and Bing (2.1x) all had AOV’s more than twice as large as Pinterest. This suggests that while Pinterest is a significant player in terms of referral traffic (see Monetate link above), its users are more apt to look than buy. The Forbes article notes, however, that Jirafe serves few of the top 500 online retailers, such that Pinterest data for these larger sites may be more positive.

Other Findings:

  • According to the IBM report, retail page views per session in Q2 dropped by 2% to 6.4 pages.
  • Home goods sales online increased by 35.3% in Q2, with department store (3.7%) and jewelry store (1.4%) sales also up.
  • Consumer sentiment for department stores in Q2 decreased on social media, though. Positive sentiment around social media fell from 25.1% in Q1 to 18.6% in Q2.
  • Negative sentiment around pricing for department stores increased by 2.1% points, while negative sentiment regarding consumer loyalty also grew by 2.1% points.

About the Data: The IBM Retail Online Index features data from IBM’s analytics offerings including the Benchmark and IBM Cognos Consumer Insight. All of the data is aggregated and anonymous. Analysis of public social media content came via IBM Cognos Consumer Insight which provides insight into underlying holiday shopping trends, hot topics of discussion and consumer sentiment. This index is combined with the IBM Social Sentiment Index to measure positive, negative and neutral sentiments shared in public forums such as Twitter, blogs, message boards and other social media, and provides quick insights into consumer conversations about issues, products and services.

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