What do you know (and not know) about eCommerce Trends?


Sometimes it helps to raise your head up and look around. It's easy to get caught thinking you know what you know, only to have to spend some time checking out how things are changing. It's part of my job at Liquid Web, as their VP of Products, to do this kind of environmental scanning, and so as I wrapped up another round related to eCommerce, I thought I would share some of the findings I thought were particularly interesting.

So without any more commentary, here are eight eCommerce trends and dynamics in 2017 that you may or may not know.

1. Do you know what the top four digital content categories are?

Categorizing all the different digital transactions online can be tough. Thankfully GlobalWebIndex did the hard work so that I could see which categories were selling the best. What surprised me was that movie and TV streaming weren't number one. Music downloads was. And that doesn't include music streaming which had less share than eBooks.

  1. Music downloads (19%)
  2. Movie & TV Streaming (16%)
  3. Mobile Apps (15%)
  4. eBooks (14%)

The source is GlobalWebIndex.

2. Which social network is poised to do best with a “buy” button?

When people were asked, across all different networks that they use, whether a “buy” button would be something they'd welcome and use, the answers surprised me. I would have ranked Facebook number one, because honestly, it's the only one I use. I've made several purchases on my phone directly from seeing an ad on Facebook. But it came in much lower than multiple other networks.

The surprise one for me? LinkedIn. I'm not sure what I'd buy from there. But clearly the executive crowd there is open.

  • Reddit (21%)
  • LinkedIn (17%)
  • Twitter (17%)
  • Facebook (13%)

The source is GlobalWebIndex.

3. Which devices are driving eCommerce traffic?

You likely knew that mobile had recently crossed desktops as the main driver of traffic to eCommerce stores. Did you know tablets were doing so poorly? It makes me rethink how I think about all my responsive work on web design for eCommerce stores. Focus on mobile and then desktops!

  • Mobile (53%)
  • Desktops (39%)
  • Tablets (8%)

Additionally, 32% of all orders are coming from mobile devices.

The source is Demandware.

4. What's the average order value in the US?

Over the years I've seen different numbers that were all sub-$100, but the number has now gone past $100. And the number of stores that are no longer charging for shipping keeps getting higher.

The average order in the US in 2017 is $104.57. And for the most part, orders don't pay for shipping, as 69% of stores offer free shipping.

The source is Demandware.

5. What percentage of shoppers do transactions with Amazon?

This number was lower than I expected. I thought it would be in the high 70's, but it was just over half. What did surprise me from the PwC data was that 45% of folks in the US start their searches at Amazon. That's a big deal and completely matches my own experience where I google a product name and “amazon” because I rather see and read about it (and the reviews) there instead of anywhere else.

More than half of online shoppers (56%) shop at Amazon.com. In the United States, at least 32% buy products monthly via their mobile phones, and 45% start product searches at Amazon.

The source is PwC.

6. What's the main reason US teens shop online?

Did you really have to wonder if convenience was going to be number one?

  • 61% shop online because it's more convenient.
  • 49% find better deals online.
  • 48% like comparing brands from home.
  • 41% find that it's faster than going to a store.

The source is Google.

7. Which platforms are people using for their online store?

Different people like or hate the BuiltWith data. Take it or leave it, you'll see several players that are doing well hosting online stores.

  1. Volusion: 2,685 stores in the top 1 million
  2. BigCommerce: 4,413 stores in the top 1 million
  3. Shopify: 9,498 stores in the top 1 million
  4. Magento:* 14,800 stores in the top 1 million
  5. WooCommerce: 24,000 stores in the top 1 million

*This includes both Magento and Magento enterprise editions.

The source is BuiltWith.

8. Which host is building an entire platform for hosted WooCommerce?

Of course I couldn't end without telling you about the trend you maybe hadn't heard about at all. I'm building a hosted WooCommerce platform over at Liquid Web.

I know you can install WooCommerce on any host that supports WordPress, but that doesn't mean you should.

I'm excited to roll this out soon, and if you want to hear more about it when it launches, comment below and I'll make sure to keep you in the loop.