As usual, this year’s Mary Meeker report from Kleiner Perkins takes a far-reaching look at internet trends and statistics. A large chunk of the nearly 300-page report is devoted to e-commerce, offering insight into a variety of online retail trends, from growth and product search to online retail advertising and the role of social platforms driving online sales.
According to Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends report, e-commerce is showing no signs of slowing down. Online sales are up and growing faster than in the previous year. More people are using their phones to shop online. Amazon is taking a wider slice of the e-commerce pie (and product search), and social platforms are driving more product discoveries and purchases.
Here is a breakdown of the report’s e-commerce highlights, along with the stats:
E-commerce continues to grow
E-commerce sales reached upward of $450 billion, a 16 percent year-over-year lift. The e-commerce growth rate is up compared to the 14 percent year-over-year increase reported in 2017.
As e-commerce grows, it is taking a bigger bite of retail sales overall. According to the report, e-commerce represented a 13 percent share of all retail spend (both online and physical retail sales) in 2017. As e-commerce continues to grow, physical retail sales growth is trending toward deceleration, with less than 3 percent year-over-year growth.
Mobile shopping is also on the rise, with mobile shopping app sessions growing 54 percent year over year. In fact, mobile shopping represented the fastest-growing app session, ahead of music/media/entertainment (up 43 percent year over year), business/finance (up 33 percent year over year), utilities/productivity (up 20 percent year over year) and news/magazines (also up 20 percent year over year).
E-commerce ad revenue: Google, Amazon and Facebook
The report also included e-commerce-related advertising revenue trends for Google, Amazon and Facebook. Google saw a three-time increase in engagement for top mobile PLAs. Meanwhile, Amazon ad revenue reached $4 billion — a 42 percent year-over-year increase in ad revenue. And Facebook’s small business Pages were up 23 percent year over year. Facebook also saw e-commerce click-through rates (CTRs) at 3 percent during Q1 2018, up from 1 percent CTRs during the same period two years ago.
Using data pulled from Salesforce’s Digital Advertising 2020 report, customer lifetime value (CLV) ranked as the most important ad spending optimization metric — ahead of impressions and web traffic, brand recognition and lift, closed-won business, last-click attribution and multitouch attribution.
Amazon’s e-commerce share
In 2013, the Mary Meeker report showed Amazon owned $52 billion of e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV), representing a 20 percent share. In 2017, that share grew to 28 percent, with Amazon owning $129 billion of GMV.
Not only is Amazon’s e-commerce share growing, the e-commerce site is the first place most people go to search for a product. Pulling data from a Survata survey of 2,000 US consumers, 49 percent of product searches start on Amazon, with only 36 percent starting on search engines (15 percent of product searches were attributed to “other”).
Social media’s role in e-commerce
Social platforms are gaining traction in product discovery and online purchasing. Based on data from Curalate’s 2017 consumer survey, 55 percent of the people polled bought a product online after discovering it on social (44 percent bought the product online later, and 11 percent bought it immediately).
When looking at which social platforms drove the largest share of product discovery, Facebook led, with 78 percent of respondents discovering products on the platform. Instagram and Pinterest saw a nearly even split, with 59 percent of respondents reporting they had discovered products on the image-centric platforms, followed by Twitter at 34 percent and Snapchat at 22 percent.
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