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The rise of Mobile Commerce might have come to a preliminary end in the Netherlands

For the last five years Mobile Commerce has said to be one of the most dominating trends in e-commerce. Retailers and marketing experts expect smartphones to become the shopping device number one. But the latest Similar Web data tell a different story: From July to September only 49.52 percent of all consumers visited one of the leading Dutch internet retailers via their smartphone or tablet. What sounds impressive, indicates a loss of 10.36 percent compared to the third quarter of 2015. The international active Social Commerce group Pepper.com gives reasons why the rise of Social Commerce has come to a (preliminary) end.

In the third quarter of 2016 consumers have visited the twenty leading Dutch internet retailers 170.79 million times by using a smartphone or tablet. This would sound impressive at first glance. if they weren’t 174.11 million visits by Desktop-PC and notebook users during the same period of time. A comparison with the third quarter of 2015 nurses further doubts on the rise of Mobile Commere: While 59.88 of all visitors used a smartphone or tablet in the third quarter of 2015. only 49.52 percent visited an online shop in the same period of this year – a loss of 10.36 percent.

Only a few internet retailers have already mainly mobile customers as data from the market research company Similar Web shows: Among the twenty leading Dutch online shops only six internet retailers were visited more often via mobile than traditional devices: Kruidvat.nl (62.45 percent, 6.36 million visits), Hema.nl (57.47 percent, 5.48 million visits), Wehkamp.nl (55.99 percent, 10.3 million visits), Zalando.nl (54.37 percent, 7.74 million visits), Debijenkorf.nl (51.53 percent, 2.45 million visits), Speurders.nl (50.79 percent, 2.95 million visits) and MediaMarkt.nl (50.59 percent, 9.57 million visits). At the same time the majority of the 14 other internet retailer’s customers used a Desktop-PC or notebook. The traffic stats for iBood (69.42 percent, 3.97 million visits), Alternate.nl (62.73 percent, 2.33 million visits), eBay.nl (62.40 percent, 6.51 million visits) and Bax-Shop.nl (60,97 percent, 2.62 million visits) even show that more than 60 percent of their customers used a traditional instead of a mobile device.

 

7.35 percent less customers are directly visiting a specific internet retailer

One of the most obvious reasons for the sluggish development of Mobile Commerce in the Netherlands is a change in consumer behavior: A growing number of consumers make their purchase decision based on information which they can easier access via their notebook than via their mobile device. How considered consumers shop online shows a look at the marketing channels that have contributed most significantly to the top-20 internet retailers reach: In the third quarter “direct type-ins” have still been the most important source with a traffic share of 43.7 percent (150.71 million visits), but the amount of consumers who browsed directly to a specific internet retailer by entering the URL in their browser has shrunk by 7.35 percent compared to the third quarter of 2015.

In the third quarter of 2016 customers browsing directly to an online shop were in the majority at only three out of the twenty most popular online shops: While iBood.com (75.68 percent, 4.33 million visits), eBay.nl (53.86 percent, 5.62 million visits) and Marktplaats.nl (52.80 percent, 70.75 million visits) have clearly benefitted from their loyal customer base, 17 other stores had to struggle for visitors – Lightinthebox.com (31.45 percent, 725,243 visits), Gamma.nl (27.13 percent, 1.86 million visits) and Praxis.nl (24.88 percent, 1.55 million visits) for example. Those three only shops had the smallest share of direct traffic.

 

Every third consumer uses Google, Duck Duck Go and Yahoo to look for information

The increasing relevance of search engines such as Bing, Duck Duck Go, Google and Yahoo is a further indicator for how comprehensively customers inform themselves before buying something online. With a traffic share of 32.32 percent (111.46 million visits) search engines were the second most relevant marketing channel in the third quarter and grew by 7.41 percent compared to the third quarter of 2015. Consumers are thereby more likely to take trust in organic search than in advertising formats such as Google AdWords: From July to September 26.6 percent (91.76 million visits) of all visitors clicked on an organic search result, but only 5.71 percent got attracted by paid advertising (19.7 million visits).

Consumers look for information specially before they buy expensive or complex products: With Gamma.nl (62.21 percent, 4.26 million visits) and Praxis.nl (59.48 percent, 3.71 million visits) two construction markets had the largest of search traffic in the third quarter of 2016, followed by Bax-Shop.nl (50.67 percent, 2.18 million visits) and Conrad.nl (49.65 percent, 3.76 million visits) – two retailers that sell musical instruments, respectively electronic goods.

 

Every seventh visitor comes from advisory and price comparison portals 

Next to direct type-ins and search engines external websites have been the third most relevant marketing channel in the third quarter of 2016. Though the traffic share shrunk by 6.29 percent, the top-20 Dutch internet retailers were still able to generate 14.87 percent of their traffic (51.27 million visits) by being present on external websites. Specially price comparison engines such as tweakers.net (2.95 percent traffic share) and advisory portals such as budgetgaming.nl, autoblog.nl (both: 0.26 percent), nl.pepper.com (0.14 percent) and vergelijk.nl (0.12 percent) were among the most import referring websites.

Consumers use these websites for two reasons – to gather information about the price as well as the quality of a product and to gain inspiration for their shopping spree:Next to internet retailers selling electronic product such as Alternate.nl (21.53 percent, 800,469 visits) and fashion stores such as Zalando.nl (16.38 products, 2.33 million visits), shopping platforms with a wider range of products like Speurders.nl (23.93 percent, 1.39 million visits) and eBay.nl (21.96 percent, 2.29 million visits) have benefitted most strongly from their presence on advisory portals.

 

The relevance of social networks is growing slowly

Social networks are also supposed to have a big impact on purchase decisions. But while marketing experts are still envisioning how retailers can benefit from the gigantic reach of social networks, the amount of visits that actually come from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter is still quite small and only growing slowly: In the third quarter of 2016 the top-20 internet retailers received only 6.67 million visits, respectively 1.93 percent of their traffic from social networks. Of course, that’s a plus of 0.57 percent compared to the third quarter of 2015, but social networks are still only the fourth most relevant traffic source.

Though recommendations clearly have an impact on purchase decisions – in a study carried out by Faktenkontor every third consumer (32.0 percent) claimed that he bases his purchase decisions on recommendations – only a few internet retailers really benefit from social networks. Among the top-20 Dutch internet retailers only five have been able to attract more than every fiftieth visitor by using Social Media: Catawiki.nl (3.52 percent, 205,533 visits), Alternate.nl (3.5 percent, 130,127 visits), Ikea.com (2.71 percent, 302,257 visits), Lightinthebox.com (2.97 percent, 68,489 visits) as well as Bax-Shop.nl (2.15 percent).

 

Display and Newsletter Marketing win back ground

In the age of content marketing, native advertising and social media marketing traditional advertising formats such as display and newsletter marketing have been doomed to a shadow existence for the last couple of years. But now they are about to win back ground as the comparison between the third quarter of 2015 and 2016 shows: While the top-20 retailers were only able generate 0.40 percent (827,208 visits) of their traffic by running display campaigns in the third quarter of 2015, the traffic share grew by 0.87 percent to 1.27 percent (4.38 million visits) in the third quarter of 2016. Simultaneously the traffic share of newsletter marketing has grown rapidly, from 1.54 percent (3.16 million visits) to 5.89 percent (20.32 million visits).

Above all other internet retailers specially Lightinthebox.com has strongly benefitted from display marketing: From July to September 2016 Lightinthebox.com generated 17.66 percent (407,243 visits) of its traffic by running display marketing campaigns. And with Catawiki.nl and (3.99 percent, 232,976 visits) and Wehkamp.nl (6.18 percent, 1.124 million visits) two other players were able to win every 25th, respectively every 16th visitor with display marketing.

Definitely more interesting from a Mobile Commerce point of view is the newest rise of newsletter marketing. That the “deal of the day” platform Groupon.nl managed to gain 1.54 million visits to its platform (traffic share: 24.96 percent) isn’t very surprising as daily newsletters are core characteristic of Groupon’s business model. But that other players such as Kruidvat.nl (12.24 percent, 1.25 million visits), Catawiki.nl (7.73 percent, 451,355 visits) and Marktplaats.nl (7.51 percent, 10.06 million visits) have also run successful newsletter campaigns might be a good sign for the future growth of Mobile Commerce: Convenience could overlap the need for information – provided that consumers take trust in the marketing promises.