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Search Engine Use on Rise During Holiday Shopping Season

searchSearch is where it is at for holiday shoppers.

In fact, record numbers of consumers are using search engines over apps and social networks this season, according to new data from RichRelevance, a provider of personalized recommendations for e-commerce sites.

One of every five, or 20 percent, of shopping sessions began with a search engine, up six percent over last year, the RichRelevance report found.

“New ways of shopping have emerged that will continue to change the landscape for retailers,” said RichRelevance CEO David Selinger. “For the second year running, we are digging into a huge treasure trove of data to provide insights into how Americans are shopping right now at the national and regional level.”

The following is an excerpt of key findings from the report:

• Mobile Shopping Continues to Boom: Shopping on tablets and mobile phones doubled this year to represent 15 percent of all traffic. Mobile activity peaked on Thanksgiving with traffic from mobile reaching 19 percent.

• Pinterest Gains Share from Facebook:  Traffic from social sources is up 30 percent this holiday, but still accounts for less than 0.5 percent of all traffic to retail sites.  Traffic from Pinterest has doubled from this year to last, and now accounts for nearly 10 percent of all traffic from social sources.  Facebook still dominates but has seen its share decrease to 90 percent (versus 95 percent for Holiday 2011). Twitter is not a factor for retailers with less than one percent of share of traffic.

• Cyber Monday Extends Into Cyber Week: Data shows that more people continue to shop post-Cyber Monday in 2012 vs. 2011.  Shopping activity was twice as heavy on the Thursday and Friday following Cyber Monday this holiday as compared to last. Among all shoppers who visited retailers at least once during the holiday shopping period (from Thanksgiving through the following Friday), about one in 10 were active on the Thursday (11 percent) or Friday (10 percent) following Cyber Monday. That’s twice as many as 2011, where about one in 20 were active on Thursday (five percent) or Friday (five percent).

The company’s research, garnered from more than 490 million shopping sessions across the Internet, also broke down the data by region.

The Southwest, including Dallas and Oklahoma City, had the highest mobile traffic of all regions, while the West Coast, including San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland bought the most expensive items.

The Great Lakes — which includes including Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cleveland — had more online shoppers per capita than any other region. These shoppers also spent the most time on retail sites.

The Plains, including Minneapolis, Des Moines, and Omaha, had the lowest average order value among all regions, as well as the lowest mobile usage.



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  • It’s amazing how many small businesses have missed the opportunity to cash in on the seasonal opportunity to make more sales this year. T

    he time to plan your visibility at xmas should be in the summer, in the same way as the retail high street stores. Visibility takes time to permeate through the web.

    Most of the time it’s fear of technology that holds back most business owners, they don’t know how to use the amazingly simple tools that would attract visitors to their website over the competition so they don’t do anything at all.

    Tip of the day (or year even!) – start learning how to promote your business on the web properly next year, make it one of your new year resolutions for 2013 that this time next year everyone will be buying from your website…

  • With the roll out of 4g here in the UK, we are going to see an explosion in online sales in mobile devices ad we are probably the most highest users of smartphone per capita any where in the developed world.

    As a user myself I will no doubt be contributing to the numbers!