Social Shopping: Facebook and… Polyvore?

November 25, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media

RichRelevance-Social-Media-Shopping-Trends-Nov2013Move over Pinterest, there’s a new sheriff in town, according to [pdf] RichRelevance. Well, there’s a new site to play second fiddle to Facebook in the race to account for less than 1% of all shopping sessions. Sarcasm aside, though it’s true that social accounts for a small portion of e-commerce traffic, it’s role is very likely undervalued due to prevailing attribution methods, and Adobe indeed recently reported that many consumers will check social media before making their final holiday purchase decisions. So keeping track of social commerce trends is important – and Polyvore’s rise is a notable one.

RichRelevance, which based its results on data collected from January 1 and September 2013 among a subset of sites, says that Facebook drove easily the most social shopping sessions, at 4.31 million. But while Pinterest has shown solid growth – up 10% year-over-year – to 1.1 million sessions, it actually trailed Polyvore, which referred 1.41 million shopping sessions. Twitter languished at 322,000 sessions.

RichRelevance attributed shopping sessions to the sites in question if the referrer for the session originated from the site. It’s important to note that all data is based only on browser-based sessions, and does not include shopping that might originate from mobile app versions of the platforms. Given the significant mobile audiences boasted by Pinterest and Twitter, it’s possible that their contributions are undervalued.

Nevertheless, the same rankings applied when looking at conversion rates and total sales from social sessions. Facebook boasted a conversion rate (2.69%) during the study period that was almost on par with the average non-social shopping session (2.98%). Polyvore was next with an average conversion rate of 1.17%, followed by Pinterest (0.96%) and Twitter (0.49%). Given Facebook’s lead in social sessions and conversion rates, it’s not surprising that it generated the most sales from social sessions, at $10.7 million. More interesting is the figure attributed to Polyvore – of $6.34 million, roughly 60% of Facebook’s total, a fairly remarkable result. In fact, for all the buzz about Pinterest, Polyvore generated triple its sales ($6.34 million vs. $2.1 million) among the sites tracked. As for Twitter – it’s $93,000 was paltry in comparison.

It’s worth mentioning again that these figures are limited to select US sites that have deployed RichRelevance’s recommendation software, so they are by no means supposed to be representative of the entire social shopping landscape – at least in terms of volume. But, the relative rankings are illustrative of a new player in the social shopping space.

And when it comes to average order values (AOVs), that’s where Polyvore shines the most. For those wondering why Polyvore generated 60% as many sales as Facebook despite its significantly lower conversion rates and share of sessions – AOV provides the answer. With an average AOV of $383.34, Polyvore almost doubled Pinterest’s AOV ($199.16). That $383.34 figure was about twice the amount of non-social shopping sessions ($143), and was far higher than the corresponding figures for Facebook ($92.27) and Twitter ($58.02).

About the Data: The results are based on data derived from more than 689 million shopping sessions that took place between January 1 and September 31, 2013.

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