U.S. Data Report: Out In First Place – The Winners of 2018

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With a huge array of players in eCommerce, there were sites who soared last year and some who struggled to find their footing. In our Data Report Losers Edition for 2018, we analyzed the challenges faced by jet.com and barnesandnoble.com in a level of detail beyond what we covered in the last Jumpshot data report. On the other hand, there were distinct winners in the online shopping game for 2018, from niche players to well-established e-retailers.

Brick-and-mortar sellers like Macy’s and Target maintained their positive momentum. Target had an impressive 44% growth in transaction volumes year-over-year and Macy’s grew 20%.

Examining the analytics from Jumpshot’s Insights tool, two other retailers showed an even more impressive level of growth in 2018: Walmart and Etsy.

Etsy: The Individualized Approach

As more and more consumers flock online (the Commerce Department estimated that by the end of 2018, more than 11% of all retail sales occurred online) to purchase essentially everything, one retailer is striving to separate themselves from the growing list of options. Etsy is not for the general straightforward shopper, but for the consumer looking for those specialized and unique products. Etsy offers a platform designed to allow multiple sellers to grow and compete for sales, with an individual and human approach to online shopping under one digital roof. Personalized gifts have been estimated to grow over 8% by 2023.

And Etsy has been a major factor in this growth, expanding substantially year-over-year.  Transactions have risen from 30.5M in 2017 to 36.7M in 2018, a 20% increase. And it’s not just an increase in raw traffic. Though visits are up 5% YoY, growing from 1.4M in 2017 to 1.5M in 2018, the real uptick in conversions was driven in large part of a stronger conversion rate, which strengthened 15% from 2.1% in 2017 to 2.5% in 2018. These numbers indicate that Etsy has succeeded in helping their sellers be successful on the platform, offering marketing models, seasonal tips, branding support, pricing guides, and growth strategies. Etsy affords room for 1.7 million “Hobbypreneurs” to turn a craft into a profit-making endeavor.

One way to ensure sellers can reach customers is to invest in paid search traffic. Traffic from paid search grew 43% YoY for Etsy as the company has leveraged Google to compete with other retailers for attention and sales.

Like most retailers, the end-of-year holidays are huge for Etsy. Transactions peak in November and December every year; in 2017 and 2018 they made up approximately a quarter annual sales, 24% in 2017 and 26% in 2018. The jewelry and accessory category is a strong division for Etsy overall and is especially strong during the holidays. The retailer grew 50% YoY in jewelry and accessory transactions, outpacing leading retailers in the category.

Walmart: Conquering the Sensible Shopper

Walmart is no newcomer to retail. In 2011, the company launched walmart.com with the intent to compete in the eCommerce with Amazon. At the time, many thought Walmart was late to the game and a less than challenging competitor. But Walmart has made huge strides in becoming a true challenger to Amazon. The world has watched as Amazon and Walmart have taken to the battlefield, fighting for clicks reshaping how consumers shop around for bargains.

Although Walmart is in second place in volume to Amazon in just about every category, it is showing tremendous growth annually. Walmart’s growth in 2018 outpaced Amazon in five major CPG categories, leading the way in Food transactions with 53% year-over-year.

In this category, most consumers only interact with one domain when shopping and, by-and-large, that domain is Amazon. But when multiple domains are in the mix—that is, within the group of consumers who browsed Food products on Amazon and at least one other domain in 2018—Walmart scored a conversion among 18.1% of shoppers. That number represents a huge shift from their general market share in the category which was just over 9% for 2018. Put another way, among customers who shop somewhere besides Amazon, Walmart is a pretty significant threat.

November and December, of course, are strong months for Walmart as they are elsewhere. Walmart was a major winner this past Black Friday and took advantage of Cyber Monday sales too. The last two months of the year made up 25% of the transactions for the year in 2017 and 26% of transactions in 2018. The month of November alone showed a 16% increase year-over-year. As a whole, Walmart is seeing a steady improvement in growth YoY at 3.2%. Transactions have grown from 106M in 2017 to 109M in 2018.

Walmart showed immense growth in a number of categories we looked at for 2018 including youth clothing for boys and girls, personal care, and beauty. Walmart is becoming a strong contender in the everyday essentials marketplace.

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