TECHNOLOGY

Study: Q4 stands out as time of digital commerce ‘firsts’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The fourth quarter of 2017 marked significant digital milestones, including the highest rates of mobile usage, discounts and buying intent.

Mobile shoppers flexed their muscle in the fourth quarter as traffic and order share hit all-time highs of 60% and 39%, respectively, according to the “2017 Q4 Shopping Index,” a report from Salesforce.

According to data, sales growth values also were staggering, as all of the growth in traffic and orders came from mobile. Computers and tablets saw either flat or declining growth in both KPIs, but mobile saw 43% growth in orders, and 25% growth in traffic. This sets the tone going forward: Retailers’ roadmaps should begin and end with optimizing everything – everything – for mobile.

Discount rates are highest in Q4, (thanks to Cyber Week) but this quarter’s discount rates broke records even for this peak shopping period. The average discount rate was 23%, a 9% increase over the same period last year. Shoppers received some amazing deals as peak days within the quarter saw average discount rates creep towards 30%, data revealed.

Shopping visits during Q4 were some of the “most intentional,” as well with shoppers registering the highest levels of buying intent on record. Eighteen percent of traffic produced a buying signal, such as searching for a product, adding a product to cart or starting a checkout, during their visit.

Even 20% of shoppers using tablets, which continue to see traffic declines, displayed buying signals. In fact, tablets represented the strongest buying signals of all three devices. Meanwhile, the share of visits that resulted in a purchase rose by 10% overall, with mobile seeing the highest year-over-year gain of 17%, the study reported.

“For the majority of 2017, digital commerce showed increasing signs of maturity, marked by growing shopper spend and flat traffic growth,” the report said. “In the fourth quarter, though, the script was flipped, with shoppers piling into digital due mostly to the Christmas/Holiday season, driving traffic growth above shopper spend growth. But beyond traffic growth, Q4 stood out as a period of firsts for digital commerce.”

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