The later-Easter at the end of April 2019, compared to the end of March in 2018, fell short of driving a significant uplift in online traffic. Online visits for the retail industry rose by only +0.7% year-on-year, which was the same level of growth as the previous month.
But retailers are getting more effective at converting visits into purchases. Looking at 40 top retailers, the average conversion rate grew by +5.8% in April year-on-year (from 2.2% average to 2.4% average). This was primarily driven by top players like Amazon, Argos and Screwfix seeing over 10% rises in conversion rates compared to last year.
And whilst overall retail activity is slowing down, one category that bucked this trend was Food & Drink. Online visits grew by +18.8% year-on-year, which was a huge increase from +3.8% in April 2018. This year’s extraordinary weather over the Easter long week (with the UK hitting higher temperatures that the Mediterranean!) did benefit the category.
Looking at the fastest-growing searches year-on-year, a number of new product trends also took hold. Searches for vegan Easter treats like “vegan easter eggs” and “vegan cheese” grew by over 100% compared to last Easter. Health-conscious consumers were seeking “nitrate free bacon” and plant-based meat substitutes like “beyond burgers”.
Retailers, particularly multi-category and in food, have stayed close to fast-evolving trends and are seeing double-digit growth in online traffic or in online conversions – a key takeaway as we enter the second half of the year.
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