In 2011, more than $1.1 trillion in retail sales could be attributed to “web-influenced” purchases (offline retail sales influenced by online research), according to [download page] a white paper released in October 2011 by Group M Search and Compete. Data from “Search’s Role in the New Retail Shopper Profile” indicates that combined with measured online sales, 48% of all retail sales are either online purchases or Web-influenced purchases.
This trend is expected to continue. By 2014, the percentage of all retail sales that are web-influenced is forecast to increase to 53%, or $1.4 trillion. In addition, 93% of buyers use search in the in-store shopping process.
Buyers are much more likely to search on generic terms than branded, as 86% of buyers conduct generic, as opposed to branded, queries. In studying the referrals from search engines to brand and third-party sites, research also shows that more visitors arrive from generic searches, indicating early stage searching at the top of the purchase funnel.
Buyers show a greater propensity to click on a generic link, at a rate of 144% more than the general shopper conducting searches in the related category.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of referrals come from non-branded queries. The only instance where the gap int hese numbers starts to close is during the holiday period, when other paid media spends increase enough to push branded searches. Up to 34% of branded searches during this time. Of all clicks happening on a search result page, 92% come from organic, with only 8% from paid, referral.
Buyers consistently click on the organic links of a search engine results page (SERP) more often than paid. For branded queries it is just as pronounced, with buyers clicking 64% of the time, broken out by 94% on organic links, compared to 6% percent paid. This new data is even more of a tilted reality than the universally stated 80-20 rule of organic compared to paid traffic traditionally espoused. In fact, a broader view utilizing Compete’s US Top 100 retailer data and eliminating the holiday period puts the ratio of organic to paid clicks closer to 85-15.
Approximately one in three online US consumers have performed one of several mobile shopping research activities in the past three months, according to [pdf] a study from the e-tailing group and PowerReviews. Data from “The 2011 Social Shopping Study” indicates that a leading 33% of online consumers have both checked for sales and specials and looked up store information such as hours, location and maps via mobile device in the past three months.
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