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Saturday 23 February 2019

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Online retail traffic up 1.8% in January

Written by Hannah McGrath
08/02/2019

Online retail visits were up 1.8 per cent in January on a year-on-year basis according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), putting a spring back in the step of e-commerce players hit by a 0.6 per cent decline in traffic in the run up to Christmas.

The latest BRC and Hitwise digital retail figures showed that the turnaround from a sluggish December for online retailers resulted in a total of 3.1 billion visits, with a combined 29.3 billion page views. A total of 56 per cent of all online visit were made on mobile.

The return to traffic growth was led by department store websites, which saw a 2.1 per cent rise in traffic from a 0.2 per cent decline in December, and health and beauty, which saw a 4.3 per cent surge in traffic, up from a 1.7 per cent decline in December.

Two other industries traditionally aligned to the Christmas peak also saw further acceleration in January, including: clothing, fitness and footwear - from 0.7 per cent to 3.9 per cent - and food and drink - up 4.8 per cent to 8.3 per cent.

However, consumer electronics and classified websites saw declines in their traffic, the seventh consecutive month of flatlining or declining traffic for these categories.

James Hardiman, junior analyst at the BRC, said that the growth is welcome reprieve for retailers with an online presence, after the declines seen in the final quarter of 2018.

“Despite the customary lower browsing levels in comparison to the festive season, this year on year growth provides an opportunity for retailers to capitalise by catering for either consumers on the hunt for a bargain, or those looking for the latest releases,” he added.

Roni Cohen, director of data science at customer relationship marketing firm Optimove, said that personalisation was key to building trust with online shoppers, given that one-time buyers still make up 63 per cent of transactions made online.

“Tapping into AI and machine learning enables businesses to build effective campaigns and strategies that will target customers at the right time, through the right channel and with the right offer for a fully personalised experience.”


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