Americans Spending Less Online With Holidays Approaching

As Americans start gearing up for the holidays, a new consumer report from RichRelevance found that while consumers are starting holiday shopping earlier this year, they’re spending less online despite the marketing efforts featured on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The report is based on analysis of consumer viewing and shopping behavior on selected U.S. retail sites. Conducted from August 2010 to August 2011, it analyzed more than 200 million shopping sessions, which resulted in over 4 million orders for a total value exceeding $500 million.

Traffic to retail sites from Facebook and Twitter has grown by big margins over last year, but it still combined for less than 1 percent of retailers’ total traffic. Traffic from Facebook to retail websites produced a 1.2 percent conversion rate, while Twitter traffic converted at 0.5 percent. Twitter users, however, tend to spend more. They had the highest average order value of any traffic source ($121.33) tracked in the report.

Meanwhile, overall average order value has dropped from $128.27 in August 2010 to $116.58 this past August. The report suggests “this decline may be attributed to several factors, including increased cost consciousness and increased shipping efficiencies that encourage smaller purchases.”

Social media is growing in importance as a source of traffic for retailers, but search engines, specifically Google, still reign supreme. The search engine giant accounts for 81 percent of organic search traffic directed to major retailers’ websites, followed by Yahoo (9.7 percent), Bing (7.5 percent) and AOL (1.7 percent). While AOL lags in organic search traffic, it does boast the highest conversion rate and average order value ($105.27) of any search engine.

“As retailers vie to get their share of an estimated $450 billion in holiday spending, there’s a tremendous opportunity to respond to the different ways that people are shopping on their sites,” said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance, in a company press release. “The ones who succeed will be those who most effectively wrap the e-commerce experience around each shopper, whether they come from Facebook or Google or a direct email link.”

Target Marketing covers all direct response media, including direct mail, e-mail, telemarketing, space advertising, the Web and direct response TV, and gives readers insight into such subjects as using databases and lists effectively, acquiring new customers, upselling and cross-selling existing customers, fulfillment strategies and more. The publication was acquired by Adweek in September 2020.