U.S. online spend per visitor grows 10% in Q2. Shopper spend per visit increased to $2.08 from $1.89 a year earlier, a quarterly index from Salesforce Commerce Cloud reveals.

Mobile is the main star when it comes to traffic and order growth at global and U.S. digital commerce sites in the second quarter, according to the Q2 Shopping Index from Salesforce Inc. Commerce Cloud.

Salesforce reports smartphone traffic to e-commerce sites grew by 23% year over year in Q2 and accounts for 57% of total traffic, according to the analysis of 35 countries, 716 digital commerce sites (including brands and retailers) and 500 million shoppers accounting for two billion visits. Meanwhile, desktop traffic fell 11% year over year and tablet traffic fell 13%. Additionally, 59% of consumers reported using their phones while shopping in a physical store within the last three months.

Retailers have come to rely on digital commerce to provide the growth for the entire enterprise, overcoming flat or even negative store comps.

“Retailers have come to rely on digital commerce to provide the growth for the entire enterprise, overcoming flat or even negative store comps,” Rick Kenney, head of consumer insights at Salesforce Commerce Cloud writes in a blog post on the index findings. “This digital growth recalibration—shifting from traffic-focused to spend-focused—means that retailers must make the site experience fantastic and centered on connecting the shopper with the product.”

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Across all countries, 19% of visitors are either buying or showing clear signs of buying behavior, such as searching, adding products to a cart and starting checkouts, Kenney writes.

In the U.S. specifically, e-commerce spending is growing. U.S. online spend per visitor grew 10% in Q2. Shopper spend per visit grew to $2.08 from $1.89 a year earlier. Globally, per shopper spend was higher—at $2.51 up 8.2% compared with $2.32 a year earlier.

The index also finds that among U.S. consumers:

  • Traffic to digital commerce sites increased 4% year over year in Q2 with mobile growing 20%. Tablet traffic fell 15% and desktop traffic fell 12%.
  • Digital commerce orders grew 18%, with mobile up 47%, desktop up 6% and tablet up 4%.
  • 18% of digital commerce site visitors are either buying or showing clear signs of buying behavior, such as searching, adding products to a cart and starting checkouts.
  • Desktops accounted for 56% of orders (down from 62% a year earlier). Tablets accounted for 8% (from 9%) and smartphones accounted for 36% (from 29%).
  • Desktops accounted for 35% of traffic (down from 42% a year earlier). Tablets accounted for 6% (down from 7%) and smartphones accounted for 59% of traffic (up from 51%).
  • The average order value was $112.34, down 2.5% from $115.15.
  • The average discount rate was 19%, compared with 17% a year earlier.
  • The share of total orders that were shipped at no cost to the shopper was 72% compared with 66% a year earlier.
  • The total number of individual items purchased by shoppers grew 6%, compared with 17% growth a year earlier.
  • Shoppers averaged 5 minutes on a site per visit. Desktop shoppers averaged 6 minutes, smartphone 5 minutes and tablet 7. This represents little change from a year earlier.
  • For mobile orders, iOS captured 69% (up from 66%) of orders with Android at 30%, (down from 34%). The figures were the same for mobile traffic.

Among global consumers across the 35 countries in the study:

  • Traffic to digital commerce sites increased 6% year over year in Q2 with mobile growing 23%. Tablet traffic fell 13% and desktop traffic fell 11%.
  • E-commerce orders grew 12%, with mobile up 33%, desktop up 4% and tablet up 3%.
  • Desktops accounted for 55% of orders (down from 59% a year earlier). Tablets accounted for 11% (from 12%) and smartphones accounted for 34% (from 29%).
  • Desktops accounted for 35% of traffic (down from 42% a year earlier). Tablets accounted for 7% (down from 9%) and smartphones accounted for 57% of traffic (up from 49%).
  • The average order value was $128.71 compared with $126.38.
  • The average discount rate was 18%, compared with 17% a year earlier.
  • The share of total orders that were shipped at no cost to the shopper was 70% compared with 66% a year earlier.
  • Site search was used by 12% of global shoppers visiting retail sites, up from 11%.
  • Global shoppers who used site search accounted for 29% of total revenue, the same as a year earlier.
  • The total number of individual items purchased by shoppers grew 5%, compared with 12% growth a year earlier.
  • Shoppers averaged 6 minutes on a site per visit. Desktop shoppers averaged 6 minutes, smartphone consumers 5 minutes, and tablet users 7. This represents little change from a year earlier.
  • For mobile orders, iOS captured 66% (up from 64%) of orders with Android at 33%, (down from 36%).
  • For mobile traffic, iOS captured 65% (up from 63%) of web visits with Android at 35%, (down from 37%).

In analyzing the results of the research, Kenney says giving shoppers quality site search is critical for retailers. “The digital heavyweights—Amazon and Google—are conditioning consumers to search,” he writes. “Site search is an absolutely crucial utility for your shoppers. More searches plus wider product catalogs shift even more burden onto merchants to provide the right search results.”

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To help create a robust site search engine, Kenney suggests using new technologies, such as artificial intelligence. An AI system uses its “intelligence” to achieve a specific end game despite not being programmed for every obstacle it may encounter. Then it uses that knowledge gained to adapt for future interactions.

Kenney also encourages retailers to focus on the product detail page. That page “is the new battleground—the page where more and more shoppers are landing, and the key decision point for shoppers; it’s the point where they decide whether to add an item to their cart, or not,” he says. “Beyond the ‘add to cart’ button, personalizing the product detail page is a mandate, and helps shoppers navigate either back to recently viewed items or forward to discover something selected just for them.”

Lastly, retailers and brands should cultivate their brands to compete with Amazon, Kenney says. “Why do shoppers love brands like American Giant, ModCloth, Everlane and Life Is Good? Because they stand for something, allowing for the shopper to connect on a more personal level,” he says. “Your brand is the conduit that connects shopper and product. Don’t forget to humanize the experience.”

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