Jewelry & Watches stands out as the fastest growing retail e-commerce category in the US, with an impressive 39% year-over-year growth in 2016, per a study from comScore [download page]. Several categories saw growth rates surpassing 20%, including Furniture, Appliances & Equipment (26%) and Computer Software (24%). Total e-commerce y-o-y growth increased to 19%, from 14% in 2015.
The Video games, Consoles & Accessories category, which saw the largest annual gains in e-commerce dollar spend in 2015, fell by 3 spots and shared its 24% gains over the prior year with 3 other product categories: Flowers, Greetings & Misc Gifts; Event Tickets; and Computer Software. Toys & Hobbies, which enjoyed 42% growth in 2015, moderated to a 16% increase this year.
While Apparel & Accessories growth was right around the average at 20%, it remains the number one product category, beating out Computer Hardware for the second consecutive year. In Q4 2016, Apparel & Accessories accounted for $20.3 billion in e-commerce sales.
Online retail spending reached a milestone this past year with its first quarter exceeding the $100 billion mark – $109.3 billion in Q4. Some $22.7 billion of that total came from mobile sales, the highest quarterly amount recorded to date. Indeed, mobile continues to play an increasingly larger role in digital commerce as its share of retail e-commerce reached 20.8% in Q4, a roughly 4% point year-over-year increase from 2015. Total e-commerce share of consumer discretionary spending also reached a new high of 17% in Q4 of 2016.
Although mobile’s role continues to grow larger, the comScore report also details the discrepancy between time spent on mobile versus dollars spent: while mobile made up 67% of time spent with retail sites in 2016, it was only responsible for 20% of the total dollars spent online. User experience challenges, such as smaller screen size and/or security concerns leading to lagging conversion rates likely explain the disparity.