With Black Friday and Cyber Monday past the horizon, we’ve compiled our latest Verto Index on e-commerce, which ranks the most popular e-commerce properties (based on monthly unique user numbers) among U.S. adults, ages 18 and over.
Given it was estimated that approximately 68% of holiday e-commerce traffic was to be driven by Mobile, we took a deep dive into how people engage on e-commerce brands via a browser (web) versus a brand’s app. For context, Verto tracks the same user across PC, Mac, Smartphone and Tablet which enables us to understand and showcase unique insights into how people convert differently on mobile web versus desktop web as well as how cross-shopping looks like from a cross-platform perspective.
Top 10: Amazon Dominates the Field
This year’s top ten most popular e-commerce properties show little change from last year’s rankings. Amazon continues to dominate the field across all metrics, with 185 million unique monthly users who spend an average of more than five hours per month on Amazon spread across 30 monthly sessions – a sign that some consumers could be using Amazon on a daily (or near-daily) basis.
Walmart comes in second and is still trailing by a significant margin, with 113 million unique monthly users in September 2018 showing how big the gap continues to be between Amazon and it’s rivals. In third is eBay with 97 million unique visitors, which does well in terms of engagement given users spent almost two hours on average per month which is second only to Amazon.
App vs Web Engagement
Using the top four e-commerce brands, we decided to dive into what form of traffic was driving the majority of their visits. Unsurprisingly, Web (including mobile & desktop) continues to dominate e-commerce reach and time spent. 179 million unique monthly visitors access Amazon at least once via Web which is 97% of Amazon’s user base for September 2018; only 53% of those users, 98 million, access it via the application. Even in terms of engagement, the average user on Amazon spent slightly more than 5 hours on web browsers compared to slightly under an hour on the app.
Walmart, eBay, and Target also reach most of their customers via their websites. However, their users seem to be more equally engaged on either access method.
Conversion Rates Across Brands
Among the top four, Amazon clearly takes the lead in terms of conversion rate. For every visit to Amazon.com on a desktop device, 4.3% resulted in a purchase. On mobile devices, Amazon boasts the highest mobile web conversion rate of the group, with 4.7% of every visit to Amazon.com on a mobile web browser including a purchase. Amazon also has the highest conversion reach with 69 million purchasers in September 2018 which makes up 39% of their Web Audience across Mobile and Desktop.
Outside of Amazon, there are two brands that surprised us. The first is Walmart where we see the lowest mobile web conversion rate of all the brands analyzed. Only 1.2% of visits to Walmart.com on a mobile web browser lead to a purchase. What this means is that a desktop visit to Walmart.com is approximately 3.5x more likely to have a purchase than a mobile web visit is.
The other brand is Target, which had comparatively high conversion rates for both mobile web and desktop. Considering Target has a reach that’s 2.8x smaller than Amazon’s reach, the fact that Target’s desktop conversion rate is actually higher than Amazon’s is no small feat. Not only that, Target’s mobile web conversion rate is the second highest of the four top brands.
When looking at these conversion rates, it’s important to keep in mind the relative scale of each website. What this means is that while Target may have fewer people visiting their website across mobile and desktop every month – they are very good at getting their visitors to purchase products in fewer visits.
Cross Visitation across the brands
To understand which brands were reaching a unique audience, we analyzed the cross visitation of these brands across both mobile and desktop. What we learned was actually to the contrary: very few shoppers visit only one brand. The only brand that had a sizeable exclusive audience audience among the four top retailer brands was Amazon. 20% of Amazon’s visitation was unique to Amazon, meaning those users didn’t visit any of the other three retailers.
When we look at the other retailers, we see the opposite – essentially none of the remaining three retailers have much unique visitation. The cause of this appears to be associated with Amazon’s dominance in the retail shopping journey. Across Walmart, eBay and Target over 90% of all unique visitors across mobile and desktop also visited Amazon.
What this tells us is that Amazon serves as a go-to location for consumers during their shopping journey. Some possible explanations for this could be that consumers rely on Amazon to find new products when they begin their journey, or it could be because they use Amazon to compare prices in order to understand if they’re getting the best deal or not.