Macy's tops rivals as online apparel destination
Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that, while Amazon outpaced Macy's in online traffic for apparel, SimilarWeb only ranked Amazon as a general merchandise retailer and not an apparel retailer.
Macy’s sits comfortably at the top as an e-commerce destination among online apparel retailers, with 55.9 million average monthly visits, according to digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb. This is more than double the second ranked site, Jcpenney.com. Zulily dropped two spots year over year as Nordstrom and Gap each moved up one, according to the latest index, which covers seven categories across three industries including retail.
In consumer electronics, Best Buy reigns supreme with 111.6 million average monthly visits, followed by Newegg with 45.8 million. The most notable increase in traffic in that category was at Gamestop, which increased 19.5% year over year.
UPDATE: Amazon didn’t make the top 10 in either category (its Zappos footwear unit came in 7th in apparel) but only because SimilarWeb only counted it as a general merchandiser. In that regard Amazon continued to grab traffic share online in the first quarter, gaining 1.4 points compared to the first quarter last year, SimilarWeb found. Ebay and Costco each gained 0.1 point.
Macy's may still enjoy a leadership position among online apparel shoppers, but as the retailer sheds stores, it's also ceding market share to rivals, notably Amazon, according to a growing body of research including a report from think tank Coresight Research. Even benchmarked against a sector hit by declining sales, Coresight recorded a 410-basis-point decline at Macy's in apparel share as annual revenues fell by $3 billion between 2012 and 2017.
Among respondents who spend less on apparel at Macy’s than they used to, 53% of Prime members said they’ve switched to Amazon versus 22% of non-Prime members, Coresight found. Young consumers, however, are not flocking to Amazon at quite the same pace: 18–29 year olds show a below-average rate of switching their apparel spending there from Macy’s, according to the report.
But Macy's, which has cultivated its online channel and recently outlined plans for mobile checkout, is winning as an digital apparel destination, by SimiarWeb's measure. The top 10 apparel sites on desktop and mobile last quarter were, in order: macys.com, jcpenney.com, nordstrom.com, nike.com, gap.com, zulily.com, zappos.com, forever21.com, footlocker.com and victoriassecret.com.
Mobile is also hosting more online traffic these days, according to SimilarWeb’s latest report. More than half (58%) of the traffic for general merchandise retailers came from mobile, with Walmart.com (64%) and Wish.com (81%) skewing more significantly mobile, according to the report. In electronics, Gamestop.com saw the highest share of mobile web traffic, at 82.3%, compared to the category average of 59%. Overall, the apparel category averages 56% of online traffic on mobile, and Footlocker.com received 82% of its traffic from mobile, the research found.
Search in the categories that SimilarWeb looked at is shifting toward the organic, SimiarWeb found. In apparel just 22% of search traffic was paid, down from 28% in the first quarter last year. In general merchandise, search was the second most popular traffic source, responsible for 26.4% of traffic, 80% of which was branded. And in electronics, paid share of search dropped from 23.6% in the year-ago period to 19.5% in the first quarter this year. The top non-branded paid keyword in that category is still “Nintendo Switch.”
Social media is also a major traffic driver. Facebook is responsible for nearly half (47%) of social traffic to apparel retailers, and March saw 26% more social traffic than January. In consumer electronics, social’s share of traffic rose from 3.7% to 4.2%, and nerds won’t be surprised to learn that was fueled by Reddit. But in general merchandise, social lost out to the Gizmodo Media Group, which was the largest referrer of traffic to the top sites in that category.
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