Average order value declined for U.S. shoppers in Q1, and more orders shipped free and with a heavier discount compared with the year-ago period.

Online sales growth in the U.S. outpaced that of the rest of the world in the first three months of 2017, according to the newly released Salesforce Shopping Index.

Salesforce’s data shows U.S. online sales grew 14% year over year during the first three months of 2017, compared with 12% globally during the same time frame. The index from the web-based customer relationship management provider analyzed shopping activity of 500 million shoppers across 725 e-commerce sites in 37 countries, with a focus on the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Australia/New Zealand region.

The 14% growth for the U.S. is in line with the online sales growth figures from the U.S. Commerce Department, which reported last month that online retail sales grew by 14.8% year over year in Q1.

Meanwhile, shoppers continued to migrate to their smartphones from their desktop computers to place orders and visit online retail sites.

Traffic from mobile phones grew 23% globally and 12% in the U.S., while traffic coming from desktop computers declined 6% globally and fell 7% in the U.S. Orders placed through mobile devices grew 33% globally and 44% in the U.S., while orders placed on desktop computers grew 2% globally and 4% in the U.S.


Mobile is growing faster from a traffic and sales perspective, but desktop still dominates when it comes to completing orders. Salesforce’s data shows that in the U.S., 54% of online retail traffic came from mobile phones compared with 40% from desktop computers. Meanwhile, 57% of all online orders were placed on desktop computers, down from 63% during the same time last year, while 34% of all online orders were placed through mobile phones, up from 27% last year.

One downside for retailers selling to U.S. shoppers—shoppers were, on average, spending less. Average order value was $104.57, down 1.3% from $105.94 during the same period last year. Those online orders were also more heavily discounted (16% in Q1 2017 compared with 15% in Q1 2016), while more of those orders shipped free (69% in Q1 2017 compared with 63% Q1 2016).

Globally, shoppers spent an average of $131.18 per order, up 2.5% from $127.98 last year. Much as in the U.S., the discount per order grew (18% in Q1 2017 compared with 17% in Q1 2016) as percentage of orders shipped free also grew (69% in Q1 2017 compared with 63% in Q1 2016).

Shoppers spent slightly more per site visit during the first quarter than they have historically over the past three years. Globally, shoppers spent $2.50 per visit during Q1, up from $2.35 in Q1 2016 and $2.29 in Q1 2015. That trend also held in the U.S., where shoppers spent $2.04 per site visit in Q1 2017 compared with $1.82 in Q1 2016 and $1.85 in Q1 2015.