Performance Index update: 2012 is off to a strong start
April 18, 2012 Leave a Comment
he latest MarketLive Performance Index numbers have been released, and the news is heartening. Although impossible to top stellar fourth-quarter results, the first three months of 2012 saw merchants holding their own and building on the momentum from a stellar holiday season.
In fact, so far, the data show merchants ahead of the curve when it comes to forecasted online sales growth for the year. Industry researcher Forrester predicts U.S. online revenues will top $226 billion in 2012, a 12% projected increase over 2011’s total, while research firm eMarketer forecasts that year-over-year growth will top 15%. But Performance Index data shows that for the first quarter, merchants achieved a whopping 19.95% year-over-year revenue gain — suggesting that 2012 is off to a bright start indeed.
Merchants achieved that revenue increase despite seeing site traffic rise just over 4%. Both the conversion and engagement (add-to-cart) rates grew by more than 12% — signaling that merchants are making the most of modest audience growth by successfully targeting potential and return customers with relevant products and offers.
The “1-and-out” or bounce rate, however, also increased — for the ninth straight quarter. Well over a third of visitors now leave sites after viewing just one page. Merchants who combat this trend stand to reap even greater sales gains, while those who fail to hone their strategies further may well find themselves falling behind the curve.
To engage shoppers beyond the first click, merchants must hone their acquisition strategies and create a relevant shopping experience wherever shoppers roam — from the eCommerce site to the mobile environment to social outposts and beyond. It’s a challenging task, but one merchants can achieve by optimizing their businesses to create a cohesive brand identity.
With so much at stake, business optimization is our top priority for the year. To read more about it, download
- our 2012 forecast whitepaper, “Delivering Relevance to Win Sales”
- the first report in a ongoing series on business optimization, “Optimizing Analytics for Connected Commerce”
- the full Index report, for Q1 performance metrics broken out by industry and business type.
How did your first quarter go? Based on the results, what strategies will you undertake to maximize sales for the remainder of the year?