Digital Retail Insight

Jun 19: Digital Retail Insight

Retail Browsing Slumps in Early Summer

James Hardiman, Analyst, Retail Insight and Analytics, British Retail Consortium:

“A second consecutive month of declining retail website visits is certainly not great news for retailers with an online presence, but given the high bar for growth set at this point last year, it is by no means a surprise.

“That being said, there were very few highlights during the month across the categories, with only Books, Stationary and Home entertainment showing any growth and that at a relatively meagre 2 per cent. On the other hand, with the average number of pages viewed and time spent per retail visit, this may be an indication of increased research by consumers ahead of completing purchase decisions in the future.

“With easier comparables from 2018 on the horizon, retailers must make the most of the information gleaned from the pre-purchase research being undertaken at the moment to take full advantage of future purchasing decisions.”


Giles Longhurst, SVP and General Manager, Hitwise

“While retail visits improved from May to June 2019, year on year visits dropped -3% in June. Many are blaming the June gloom on just that – poor weather throughout the month leading to a decline in shopping, especially for key categories like House & Garden.

“Although visits are faltering, conversions continue to be the bright spot. The average conversion rate of 40 top retailers grew +11.2% since June 2018, indicating that consumer’s propensity for purchasing is on the rise. And while visits for Clothing, Fitness & Footwear dipped -4.6%, conversions for Hobbs (+28%) and Nasty Gal (+58%) are climbing year on year. Fewer visits and more purchases within fashion implies that consumers are having more focused and trusted shopping journeys online.

“Despite declining traffic, some key industries, such as Food & Drink (+0.5%) and Health & Beauty (-0.1%), have managed to keep online visits relatively flat year on year. The rise of grocery delivery searches contributed to slight growth in Food & Drink visits.

“Following the exceptional summer of 2018, poor weather in June clearly impacted demand across key industries and will be a trend to monitor further as the summer progresses. On a more positive note, it is exciting to see new store openings bolster online growth for new retail brands.” 


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