The end of Halloween traditionally marks the beginning of the onslaught of holiday shopping. Right around now, e-retailers roll out so-called pre-Black Friday deals, free shipping promotions and other deals aimed at encouraging shoppers to get a jump on their holiday shopping on the web.
So far, four major players are in the lead when it comes to traffic gains in volume over last year. Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4), Etsy Inc. (No. 23) and The Home Depot Inc. (No. 7) experienced the biggest jumps in worldwide desktop and mobile traffic to their sites in the first five days of November compared with the same days in 2015.
Worldwide, consumers visited Amazon.com more than 384.3 million times Nov. 1-5, according to an Internet Retailer analysis of website traffic data from SimilarWeb, which includes mobile and desktop visits (mobile app visits are not included). Amazon’s site attracted 33 million more visits this year than last year, or a 9.5% jump compared with 351.1 million visits in 2015.
During the same period, consumers visited Walmart.com more than 54.2 million times—6.6 million more visits than last year. HomeDepot.com received 20.1 million visits, up 3.0 million from last year, and Etsy.com experienced 30.3 million visits, a 2.5 million jump.
Amazon rolled out its Black Friday deals on Nov. 1. Walmart.com already is blanketed with “Early Bird Online Specials,” and HomeDepot.com is touting “Black Friday Savings” and the “Lowest Prices of the Year.” Etsy.com has not rolled out any holiday-related promotions on its home page yet, though it highlighted holiday-related decorations like stockings and holiday decor in a recent email promotion.
Collectively, those 100 online retail sites generated a total of 746.8 million visits to their sites in the first five days of November. That’s a 4.1% jump from the same period last year.
The biggest traffic declines so far in November in terms of volume are Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 12), GameStop Corp. (No. 45), Victoria’s Secret (parent L Brands Inc. is No. 28) and Gap Inc. (No. 20).
The vast majority of the Top 100 retail sites analyzed are receiving more than half of their traffic from mobile devices—though mobile traffic has declined for most of them.
76 of the 100 e-retailers experienced declines in mobile visits during first five days of November 2016 compared with 2015. Collectively, smartphones and tablets accounted for 52.4% of total visits for the first five days of November. That’s down more than four percentage points from 56.5% in 2015.
That could mean that more on-the-go consumers are browsing retail apps instead of mobile sites, as app usage is not factored into SimilarWeb traffic figures. The declines are not likely to be explained by a change in the calendar, as the first five days of November fell Tuesday through Saturday of this year versus Sunday through Thursday in 2015. Both time periods have one weekend day, when more consumers tend to shop on their mobile devices because they are away from their desktop work computers.
Best Buy, Newegg Inc. (No. 17), Gap and GameStop experienced the largest declines in mobile traffic in the first five days of November, according to SimilarWeb data. Walmart.com had by far the largest increase, with 5.2 million more consumers visiting Walmart.com from their mobile device. The second biggest jump was HomeDepot.com, followed by Amazon.com and Zulily.com.
Many experts expect mobile shoppers to drive more sales and traffic this holiday season. About two weeks ago, e-commerce technology company Adobe Inc. predicted that mobile shoppers will account for the majority of visits—53%—to retail websites throughout the holiday season. This would be the first time that mobile traffic will exceed desktop visits throughout the season. Mobile shoppers also will account for 34% of sales in November and December, Adobe predicts.
Here’s a list of the top 10 most trafficked e-retail sites for the first five days of November among the 100 that Internet Retailer is tracking.