Mobile has never been more important to driving retail sales, according to new data released by Salesforce.com Inc.
62% of all e-commerce traffic stemmed from smartphones in the second quarter, up from 57% a year earlier. Additionally, mobile devices accounted for 42% of all orders in the second quarter, compared with 35% a year earlier, according to the Salesforce Q2 2018 Shopping Index.
The number of mobile orders grew 41% year over year in the second quarter, and Salesforce expects mobile devices to account for half of online orders by the end of the year. Mobile traffic grew 17% year over year, Salesforce says.
Comparatively, computers accounted for 31% of traffic during the quarter, down from 35% a year earlier, and tablets accounted for 6% of traffic, down from 7% a year earlier. Additionally, computers accounted for 49% of orders, down from 54% a year earlier; tablets accounted for 9%, down from 11% a year earlier.
The number of computer orders grew 6%, slightly higher than the 5% growth a year earlier. And tablet orders grew 3%, compared with 1% a year earlier. Computer traffic fell 5%, and tablet traffic fell 6% during the quarter.
Salesforce’s findings are based on its analysis of shopping activity of more than 500 million consumers across the world across 853 e-commerce sites spanning 1.4 billion visits.
Globally, total e-commerce sales among Salesforce retailers rose 16% in the second quarter, online spend per shopper grew 8% and e-commerce traffic grew 7%, Salesforce says. In the U.S., Salesforce says online sales grew 17% year over year, slightly lower than its 18% growth rate a year earlier. That growth rate is much higher than the U.K.’s growth of 5%—which was the lowest growth rate of the countries examined, but a slightly higher growth rate than the second quarter of 2017, which was 4%. The Nordic region posted the highest e-commerce growth rate at 33%, compared with a 36% growth rate a year earlier.
“While this may be a reflection of digital commerce maturity levels in these markets, it is certainly noteworthy to see such sluggish performance in the U.K., particularly when you consider its growth rate was twice as high in Q1,” says Jamie Merrick, director of strategic solutions at Salesforce Commerce Cloud. In the first quarter, U.K. online sales grew 10%.
Globally, active apparel was the fastest-growing online category by sales, growing 23%. That category grew 31% a year ago. Health and beauty had the lowest growth rate at 9%, compared with 19% a year earlier. Luxury apparel posted especially strong growth when compared with a year earlier. That category grew online sales worldwide by 21% in the second quarter, compared with just 1% a year earlier.
The average order value during the quarter was $123.59, down from $125.35 a year earlier. 68% of orders shipped for free, compared with 66% a year earlier. 15% of visits to e-commerce sites engaged with site search, up slightly from 13% a year earlier, Salesforce reports.
Last week, the Department of Commerce said online sales from U.S. e-retailers grew 15.4% in the second quarter to reach $120.45 billion, compared with $104.41 billion the period a year earlier.
This is a slightly lower growth rate than e-commerce for 2017 as a whole, when U.S. online sales rose 16.0% to reach $453.46 billion, compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. It’s also a slightly lower growth rate than the first quarter, when online sales from U.S. merchants grew 16.4%.
Total retail and food services sales grew 5.3% in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department.
Those total retail sales figures from the Commerce Department include the sale of items not normally bought online, such as fuel and automobiles. When factoring these items out of the total retail sales figures, which Internet Retailer believes is the most accurate way to measure the impact of e-commerce on retail as a whole, retail sales reached $904.90 billion. That would mean e-commerce represented 13.3% of total retail sales. That’s slightly less than Q1, when e-commerce represented 13.8% of total retail sales, according to Internet Retailer estimates.
For all of 2017, online sales accounted for 13.0% of total retail sales, according to Internet Retailer estimates.