Holiday Shopping 2018 to Hit $134 Billion; Amazon's Conversion Rates 3-5X Higher Than Walmart, Macy's, Target, eBay

Last year Amazon achieved holiday shopping conversion rates of 5.6% on mobile and 17.8% on desktop, massively outperforming rivals such as Walmart, Target, eBay, and others.

This year, the company appears poised to do it again.

The holiday Thanksgiving weekend is one of the biggest shopping events of the year, and Amazon leads all retailers in both mobile and desktop shopping, according to a new report from Lotame and Jumpshot. Retail searches jumped 182% after Halloween, according to the companies, and that led to a 75% increase in traffic to deal sites and other retail outlets.

But conversion is where it’s at, and there Amazon excels, peaking two weeks before Christmas, with these conversion rates on mobile:

  • Black Friday: 5.2%
  • Cyber Monday: 5.6%
  • December 11 week: 6.4%

On desktop, as you’d expect, the rates are significantly higher:

  • Black Friday: 16.1%
  • Cyber Monday: 17.8%
  • December 11 week: 20%

Those rates compare to an average of 1.3% mobile conversion at other e-commerce sites, including Walmart, Target, Macy’s, and eBay, and 7.3% on desktop.

“Shopping is a mobile-first industry,” says Ryan Rolf, VP of Data Solutions at Lotame. “With more and more mobile devices pushing e-commerce visits, retailers that neglect to take a mobile-first approach will lose out in 2018.”

That’s not necessarily entirely true. The conversion rates on desktop, for instance, are multiples of the conversion rates on mobile … so desktop does matter. Where mobile is key is in the discovery phase and the price check phase. Mobile is the “three-foot” device: never more than three feet from your body.

That means it’s usually the first device you turn to. 

Consumers often then turn to a desktop to complete the purchase with a bigger screen and keyboard, something I call “taps, clicks, bricks.” The upshot is then that retailers’ in-store experience, mobile experience, and desktop experience all matter.

Of course, that’s U.S. data.

Chinese or Indian data would show something quite different, since mobile is not just the default but the only computing platform available to the vast majority of people. And that may happen in the North American and European markets over time as well, as mobile continues to grow.

All is not lost for other retailers, however.

“Though consumer data shows Amazon dominates e-commerce, they’re not the only place people buy online, especially during the holiday shopping season,” said Deren Baker, CEO of Jumpshot. “It’s vital that marketers understand how consumer habits shift depending on how and where they discover and buy products.”

Walmart in particular has taken on Amazon’s challenge and invested heavily in e-commerce while also taking advantage of its large physical-store footprint … and working with Google to make all its products shoppable by voice via Google Home and Google Assistant.

It remains to be seen who the long-term winner will be.

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