Millennials do online research before they commit to making a purchase.

In its annual study of e-commerce, online solution provider SEMrush noted that direct traffic to sites remains the largest portion of e-commerce while as mobile continues to gain share, desktop traffic “prevails for all the industries analyzed in the study.”

In a 59-page report, researchers at the firm also found e-commerce firms need to be better at facilitating consumer reviews as reviews remain the most popular search engine results pages, or SERP. SEMrush’s analysis was derived from 8,000 of the most trafficked global e-commerce sites. The study examined traffic patterns, marketing, ad size, promotions and the emotional triggers of e-commerce marketing efforts.

Regarding how consumers search and get to a site or product page, SEMrush found that 42.2 percent of traffic to e-commerce sites is generated by direct traffic while 40.1 percent is via search and 8.6 percent is referral. About 6.2 percent is generated by paid traffic while nearly 3 percent is driven by social media.

By industry, fashion apparel and flowers have the highest direct traffic share of 48.6 and 48.1 percent, respectively, while music, home and garden and furniture all have direct traffic shares of 38 percent or less.

To add some context, authors of the report said the “relative dominance of direct traffic can be attributed to good brand awareness and brand loyalty. In and of itself, brand familiarity and repeat business is not a scalable strategy for long-term growth.”

“With search playing such a significant role in driving e-commerce traffic, it is well worth your while to invest in both pay-per-click and organic search engine optimization informed by a smart keyword strategy and competitive intelligence,” researchers at the firm added.

The researchers also stressed the importance of backlinks, which can help retailers “conduct a deep link analysis of all referring domains’ authority, gain competitive link intelligence on your rivals’ backlinks, spot new referral traffic sources, and improve your link building strategy with the insights gained.”

When the researchers looked at desktop versus mobile across all of the 13 industries they found that desktop leads mobile in organic search traffic by 14 percentage points to represent 57 percent of total traffic. “There are two reasons for our seemingly counterintuitive findings,” the researchers said. “First, mobile apps were not included in our research, so the organic search traffic from mobile app browsing is excluded. Secondly, because the sites researched are strictly e-commerce, consumers’ tendency to gather detailed information about a product or service on their desktop computer — as well as convert — after doing preliminary research on their mobile device translates into more desktop organic traffic overall.”

Other key findings of the report include that most e-commerce companies use the “HTML” format. And that “728 by 90” is the most popular ad size.

 

For More Business News From WWD, See:

Five Below’s Recipe for Disruption: Fast and Fun Product and Pricing

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