Social Media Accounts For Only 1% Of Online Retail Sales

Ecommerce and social media are two great tastes that (so far do not taste great together, according to U.S. consumers. That’s the conclusion of a survey by Custora, which looked at orders to retail Web sites in the first quarter of the year to determine where the orders originated.
Overall, Custora found that just 1% of orders to retail Web sites originated from social media in the first quarter of 2014. That’s actually down from 2% in the first quarter of 2013. In the first quarter of 2014, much larger proportions originated from organic search, 24%, the same as last year.

Direct visits to the Web sites are down from 23% last year; search marketing/cost per click advertising, at 20%, up from 17% last year; and email, at 18% up from 17% last year. Affiliate marketing clocked in with a modest 8%, down from 9%, and display advertising was swimming around the bottom of the barrel with social at 1%, the same as last year.
Separately, 43% of retailers surveyed said that among visitors who arrived at their sites via social media, less than 1% spent any money during their visit.
These findings are broadly in line with previous survey results showing that social media’s contributions to ecommerce are still negligible. In December 2013, IBM analyzed sales from Black Friday and found that, while ecommerce sales rose 19.7% on Thanksgiving Day and 18.9% the following day compared to the year before, online sales from social sites contributed just 1% of total traffic to e-commerce sites.
According to IBM, traffic from different social sites generated different sales figures, with shoppers referred from Pinterest spending 77% more than shoppers referred from Facebook ($92.51 versus $52.30). However, Facebook referrals converted to sales at nearly four times the rate as Pinterest referrals.
Adobe’s Social Media Intelligence Report covering the fourth quarter of 2013, covering the fourth quarter of 2013, noted that the value of ecommerce referrals from social media is increasing -- but remains fairly small. Per Adobe, between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013, the average amount of revenue generated by visitors referred to retail sites from social-media sites increased from $0.25 per visit to $1.10 for Tumblr, a 340% increase; from $0.27 to $0.93 for Pinterest, a 244% increase; from $0.35 to $0.83 for Twitter, a 137% increase; and from $0.71 to $1.22 for Facebook, a 72% increase.

1 comment about "Social Media Accounts For Only 1% Of Online Retail Sales".
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  1. Troy Johnson from, LLC, May 22, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.

    The results described here pretty much mesh with my experience.

    Search still converts much better and attracts more visitors than social.

    Interestingly search traffic drives an increasing number of visitors to my social media platforms rather than my actually site even though my social media just links to the site where the complete content is. Of course this this cannibalizes traffic to my site, but I'm afraid I'd loose even more of my ranking without the social signals.

    Old fashioned newsletters (like the one that drove me here) is actually a much a much stronger tool to engaging visitors.

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