New Study: 34% of Traffic and 28% of Orders for Large Online Fashion Retail Brands Come Directly from Search and Social

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Facebook and Instagram generate majority of sales coming directly from paid social

34% of traffic, 28% of orders and 26% of the total order value for large online fashion retailers come directly from search and social sites including Google and Facebook, new global research suggests. Of all traffic arriving directly from paid social, 80% is from Facebook and Instagram.

And the data suggests mobile phones dominate: 76% of all traffic, 64% of all orders and 59% of the total order value for large enterprise fashion e-commerce brands comes from smartphones.

The study by Nosto, the e-commerce personalization, and retail AI platform analyzed 1.19 billion visits to e-commerce sites globally during the busiest three months of the retail calendar (Dec 2018 to Jan 2019). 24% of visits were to enterprise fashion sites with annual sales of $50m or more). The research tracked all traffic sources based on the ‘last click’ (where a visitor was before landing onto an e-commerce site).

The Impact of Paid and Organic Search and Social Media on Fashion E-commerce


“Social sites such as Facebook and Instagram are important destinations for branding and product discovery, especially in the fashion space. You can’t judge their full power only by looking at the last click from either paid or unpaid sources that are driving visitors to merchants’ stores. Instagram, in particular, is an extremely popular platform on which shoppers follow fashion influencers to learn about new styles and brands, but that higher-funnel discovery process won’t show up in e-commerce marketers’ website analytics data.
While organic and paid social appear to generate 9% of all traffic to enterprise fashion e-commerce based on the last click model, the full impact of social is likely to be significantly greater, according to Jim Lofgren, CEO of Nosto:

“The modern e-commerce fashion shopping journey is highly complex, and more often than not the shopper finally arrives at a retailer’s site by heading there directly or via Google search. This continues to pose challenges for e-commerce brands trying to evaluate the ROI of their marketing spend.”

Nosto’s examination of the direct impact of social media on enterprise fashion e-commerce reveals that of the four main social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat) Facebook and Instagram are the biggest drivers of traffic and orders from paid and organic social.

Within paid social, Facebook accounts for 73% of all traffic, 89% of all orders and 86% of the total order value. In organic social, Facebook represents 53% of traffic, 59% of orders and 56% of the total order value.

Instagram generates 41% of all organic social traffic, 41% of all organic orders and 43% of the total organic social order value. On the paid social side, Instagram generates 16% of all traffic, 10% of all orders and 14% of the total order value.

Of the other social networks, both Snapchat and Pinterest account for 3% each of direct organic social traffic. However, orders resulting directly from organic Pinterest and Snapchat activity based on the last click are negligible. In paid social Snapchat drives 10% of traffic and 1% of orders, implying a stronger branding and awareness value currently.

Aside from search and social, the study reveals visits and transactions for enterprise fashion e-commerce sites are either generated by direct traffic (when shoppers directly type the e-commerce site’s web address into their phones and computers); from sources such as marketing emails, ad networks and affiliate sites; or from dark social (mostly from people sharing links to the e-commerce sites in emails, text messages and messaging apps).

Nosto’s fashion retail customers include Gymshark, Agent Provocateur, Aquascutum, Everlast, Helly Hansen, and Volcom.

More insights from the study, including charts are included in a blog post on the Nosto website here.

About the data

Nosto analysed a sample of 1.19b global visits across all different types of digital commerce retailers during the typical retail fiscal Q4 of November 2018, December 2018, and January 2019. The research analyzed traffic sources to understand what marketing channels are driving key outcomes for e-commerce retailers, with a particular focus on fashion retailers.

45% of total visits in this sample were to fashion retailers, with 24% of total visits to enterprise fashion retailers (defined as fashion retailers on Enterprise plans and averaging at least $50m in annual online sales. All traffic sources are attributed on a “last click” or tracking parameter basis for each site visit (where the shopper came from directly before arriving on the merchant site for that session, or where specific tracking parameters were set on the URLs that the shopper clicked on).

The study focused on three key metrics: the number of site visits, purchases, and order value, and the data was broken out by mobile and desktop devices.

The analysis covers visits to e-commerce sites globally including North America, United Kingdom, Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden), France and DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland).

About Nosto

Nosto is the fastest growing e-commerce personalization and retail AI platform in the world. Supporting more than 2,500 retail brands in more than 100 countries, Nosto has fuelled over 25 billion personalized experiences and delivered a gross merchandise volume (GMV) of more than $10 billion through its customer stores. Nosto’s end-to-end personalization platform provides deep customer insights that drive real-time personalized shopping experiences across any touch point and any device. Through its patented technology, proprietary machine learning algorithms, vast network of e-commerce data and dedicated customer success team, Nosto supports its retailers from its offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, and Helsinki.

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