A new Episerver report finds that consumers still choose desktop as the dominate device to make ecommerce orders, even though smartphones are the majority of web traffic.

Despite mobile taking over for the most-browsed-on device for online traffic, desktop and tablets lead the way in units per order for consumers, according to a new report.

The 2018-2019 B2C Dot-Com Report” by Episerver, a global software company which offers web content management and digital marketing, details global ecommerce metrics across 1.3 billion unique shopping sessions across 159 retail and consumer brand websites. This report also includes information from Episerver’s consumer behavior report of more than 4,500 global online shoppers for 2018, and is the first year the company published the report.

Mobile leads traffic, desktop delivers sales

Smartphones have increased their share of web traffic for years, according to Episerver’s Dot-Com Report.  Google factoring in a site’s mobile-friendliness to its search algorithm in March 2018 reflects consumer behavior shifting to visiting sites on smartphones from desktops, according to Episerver’s Dot-Com Report.

In this report, mobile was found to be the main device from which consumers accessed the web, with 50% of all online sessions coming from a smartphone device, 41% from a desktop and only 9% from tablets. Regardless of which device consumers use to access the web, units per order—or the average total item count of an order— are 24% higher on a desktop than a smartphone and 14% higher on tablets than smartphones, with 3.6 units being purchased on a desktop and 3.3 units and 2.9 units on a tablet and smartphone, respectively.


The disproportionate “visit-to-purchase” figures could be in part to an attribution error with consumers first accessing a retailer’s website through a smartphone, but coming back at a later date and actually purchasing an item through a desktop or tablet, according to Episerver.

Traffic to conversion rate

Episerver’s consumer behavior study found that 17% of online shoppers say the primary reason they visit a retailer’s website for the first time is to make a purchase. The avenue from which consumers most commonly visit ecommerce websites is through direct traffic, which includes accessing a site directly, using a bookmark or visiting through a personal email.

According to Episerver, 48% of consumers visit a website directly, 24% accesses a site through organic search (such as Google or Bing), 13% through paid search (such as a Google ad), 6% through email, 4% through social, 3% through referral and only 1% through a display ad. (Percentage does not equal 100% as numbers are rounded.)

These figures of which channels bring in sales align with retailers’ budget priorities. According to Internet Retailer’s 2019 Guide to Ecommerce Platforms, retailers’ top ecommerce technology budget priorities over the next year include an ecommerce platform, social media and email marketing. That is, 49% of retailers listed their ecommerce platform as a top investment priority in the coming year, with social media and email marketing rounding out the top three at 32.9% and 28.2%, respectively.



In Episerver’s report, paid search was found to have a 2.9% conversion rate, closely followed by organic search at 2.8% and referrals at 2.6%. Email and direct web traffic had similar conversion rates at 2.3% and 2.0%, but social media and display did not break the 2% mark at 1.0% and 0.7% conversion rates, respectively.

When taking this into account with units per order and bounce rate, Episerver concluded that paid and organic search are the highest performing traffic sources.


“Search-oriented traffic has the strongest combination of low bounce rates and high conversion rates and units per order,” the report said.