pepper.com revealed some interesting data this week about the internet habits of people in the UK, or at least about the shopping sites they visit and how they get there. There were some no-brainers in there of course (Amazon and eBay are the most popular e-tail sites, Google is top for search and mobile use is accelerating). But there were some surprises too.
That was particularly the case around the low effectiveness of display ads online, how tiny the impact of email newsletter marketing is and how (relatively) low is the volume of traffic generated from social media platforms is.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the experience is the same for every e-tail site nor that social media efforts are pointless. But given how much time and effort got into social media, it’s a bit dispiriting to learn that less than 3% of visits to the top 25 e-tail sites are generated by social media.
It seems, we’re creatures of habit. I heard a statistic recently that said most of us use just five apps on our smartphones (I use about double that but it’s still pretty low given how many apps I have). It seems we have a similar approach to browsing online generally, most of us going to the same sites and the largest proportion of us going directly to those sites, rather than hunting around.
Warning: Look away now if you hate stats!
So, let’s look at the findings in detail and I should warn you, this bit of the article is full of very dry stats, so look away now if you can’t cope with that.
Pepper analysed data from Similar Web for the first three months of this year (Q1) and compared it to the final three months of last year (Q4) to find out how consumers shopped online, which e-tailers were most popular, how consumers accessed online merchants and where they came from. It discovered that…
- Apart from Amazon and eBay, others in the top 25 included Argos, Asos, Tesco, Boots, Sports Direct, John Lewis, M&S, Next, Debenhams, New Look, Very, House of Fraser and H&M.
- More people visited the top 25 online sites via mobile than by desktop/laptop.
- While the search engine of choice was Google, more visitors typed-in the url of the e-tailer they wanted directly.
- Amazon recorded 1.2bn visits in Q1, which was a 6.7% rise, while eBay growth surged 20.9%, taking it to 1.1bn visits.
- Thee biggest referring site was Google with over 1bn visits and a 30.29% traffic share. This was followed by eBay.com with 110m visits coming from this website and driving traffic to eBay.co.uk (3.02% traffic share). Next came Pepper’s HotUKDeals site, with 89.4m visits and a 2.45% traffic share. Facebook was fourth with 56m visits and a 1.54% traffic share.
- Most of the visits to the top 25 online retailers came from direct traffic (1.6bn visits and a 42.61% share). Organic searches and referrals from third party websites also scored strongly but paid searches only accounted for 134m visits (3.68% share) and only 2.7% of all visits came from social media. In fact, traffic from social media to the top 25 e-tailers in Q1 was down 0.25% at 97m visits.
- More visits to the top 25 online retailers came via mobile compared to desktop/laptop with Very.co.uk seeing the highest mobile share on 72.05% (24.2m visits), followed by New Look with a 70.43% share (27.5m visits) and Argos 69.17% (118.9m visits).
- We already know that newsletter marketing (90m visits and a 2.46% share) and display ads (8.5m visits and a 0.23% share) had little relevance. But while traffic via social media was also low percentage-wise, it was still significant.
- The most relevant network for traffic generation was Facebook with 57.75% of traffic share (56m visits), which is down 1.78% on last year. Visits from YouTube rose 1.1% on Q4 and it was the second most important social media platform in Q1 with a 17.05% traffic share (16.6m visits), followed by Reddit with 9.24% traffic share (9m visits). Twitter came fourth with 6m visits and a 6.17% share.