Digital Retail Insight

Oct 19: Digital Retail Insight

Retail Browsing Remains in Decline

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

“The month saw another steep decline, although 6.9% for October was not quite as severe as that seen in September. However, this is damning with faint praise, as this is not the result that retailers will have been hoping for to start the all-important ‘golden quarter’.

“Despite sales, particularly in fashion and homewares rebounding online in October, this was not reflected in their respective browsing levels, with all categories seeing a decline over the same period. However, House & Garden websites saw the shallowest rate of decline.

“A contributing factor to the poor performance is the later timing of Black Friday this year, which will have also delayed the accompanying increase of activity in the run-up to the event. Therefore, November will be even more critical than previous years in the success of the final quarter.”

Giles Longhurst, SVP and General Manager, Hitwise

“September was the bearer of bad news, but October has seen an initial turnaround with positive news heading into the retail's "Golden Quarter". The top 20 retail sites processed 1.8 million more transactions in October YoY, with the average conversion rate remaining stable at 4.2%.

“Online visitor engagement also grew in October. The average number of retail visits per unique user had risen from 26.6 times/week last year to 27.8 times/week this year.

“Channels are shifting too. Clicks from Email and Print Publications to retail sites have increased YoY, particularly for Health & Beauty and House & Garden. Paid search rates also rose YoY, particularly for Electronics categories.

“This data indicates that consumers are online more often than last year. They're engaging with different channels and sites to inform their shopping decisions. Retailers should monitor changes in channel mix and search behaviours, in order to optimise their Nov/Dec campaigns.”

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