Retail Insight of the Month – February 2018
According to Hitwise data, online visits in February grew faster at 7.1% YoY, compared to the previous month of 6.9%. Retail footfall suffered, falling at a greater rate in February YoY (-6.8%) than January (-6.6%), as reported by Ipsos Retail Performance.
But were people converting more online? The average conversion rate actually dropped from 2.5% in February 2017 to 2.3% in February 2018 *. This implies that whilst there was an uptake in online traffic, a higher proportion of this activity involved browsing and research, than product purchase.
Not all industries also experienced the same uptake. Top-performing industries from last year, such as Food & Drink (+19%), House & Garden (+16%) and Health & Beauty (+15%), continued their double digital rise. Visits to Books, Stationary & Home Entertainment had dipped by 4%, with the recent closures of major electronics and toys specialists, namely Toys R Us and Maplin, ringing alarm bells for retailers.
Overall, February figures highlight the top priority to adapt to changing consumer preferences, particularly the shift from offline to online channels.
Another key lesson is the importance of capturing the consumer’s attention, not just at the point of purchase, but at the inspiration to consideration stages.
* Average conversion rate = Proportion of visits that lead to a purchase, calculated as a simple average across 30 leading retail sites.
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