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Q4 Shopping Index: Surging Digital Traffic Yields Success in Retail

Q4 Shopping Index: Surging Digital Traffic Yields Success in Retail

Brands and retailers saw digital revenues grow by 14% year-over-year (YoY) in Q4, fueled by substantial growth in digital traffic.

Every year, brands and retailers gear up for a busy Q4. For most, this is make or break. But, for some, this is the cherry on top of a year peppered with epic shopping moments. One thing is clear — brands and retailers saw digital gains in the final quarter of 2019.

As we saw this holiday season, brands and retailers did an excellent job of drumming up demand early in the quarter. Tactics like limited-edition merchandise and social exclusives generated significant demand. The result? Digital revenues grew by 14% year-over-year (YoY) fueled by substantial growth in traffic.

But traffic wasn’t the only KPI having its moment in Q4. Below we’ve outlined the three major trends that dominated.

1. Social hits new highs

Over the years, we have been awaiting the advent of social media as a significant driver of digital commerce. This quarter saw digital traffic from social channels reach new heights and finally break the double-digit barrier.

On peak days during the season, mobile traffic from social channels topped 10%. Thirty-four percent of Gen Z shoppers report they seek out shopping inspiration from social media. As these young shoppers gain more purchasing power, social influence over their shopping habits will continue to drive the platform forward as a major source of traffic and revenue.

2. Mobile buying is the new norm

The previous year (2019) was a turning point for digital buyers. Mobile consistently drove the majority of digital sales throughout the entire year. What does this mean? Shoppers tell us mobile isn’t only for discovery. They are more motivated than ever to complete their digital purchases on a phone. In the final quarter of 2019, mobile buying reached unprecedented peaks. Year over year, mobile purchases grew by 38% in Q4, with an average of 54% of digital orders driven by mobile devices. During certain high-volume days over the holiday shopping season, peaking well over 60%. What’s driving this change? The increased prevalence of mobile wallet solutions (like Apple Pay and PayPal) is certainly contributing to changing shopper behaviors. Overall mobile shopping experiences are now more seamless and frictionless. The risk is clear for retailers — as more mobile shoppers get as comfortable buying on their phones as they do browsing, a superior mobile experience is a mandate.

3. Cart abandonment rates on mobile hit an all-time low

Mobile hit another key moment in Q4 — digital shopping carts created during mobile shopping sessions reached the lowest rates ever seen in the last nine quarters. As buyers continued to turn to mobile to complete their purchases, cart abandonment rates fell to 87%. This trend indicates mobile shopping experiences are continuing to improve. However, there is still room for improvement. Mobile devices experience the highest rates of cart abandonment compared to desktop computers and tablets. So, continue to refine your mobile shopping experience, especially when it comes to checkout.

For more data-driven insights, check out the Q4 Shopping Index, which uncovers the true shopping story through analyzing the activity of more than 500 million shoppers across the globe, with a focus on key markets: U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Australia/New Zealand, and the Nordics. This battery of benchmarks provides a deep look into the last nine quarters and the current state of digital commerce.


Caila Schwartz of Salesforce
Caila Schwartz Director, Consumer Strategy & Insights

Caila Schwartz is the director of consumer insights and strategy for retail and consumer goods at Salesforce. Her background includes extensive data analysis and storytelling, and her main focus is giving retailers a competitive edge by identifying new opportunities based on data-driven evidence. She has been with Salesforce since 2014. Caila is a graduate of Wellesley College.

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