For the majority of 2017, digital commerce showed increasing signs of maturity, marked by growing shopper spend and flat traffic growth. In the fourth quarter, though, the script was flipped, with shoppers piling into digital due mostly to the Christmas/Holiday season, driving traffic growth above shopper spend growth. But beyond traffic growth, Q4 stood out as a period of firsts for digital commerce, according to our latest Shopping Index.

Mobile Owned Visit AND Order Growth
Shoppers in Q4 showed clear confidence in mobile buying, as traffic and order share hit all-time highs of 60% and 39% respectively.  During Christmas and Thanksgiving, another milestone was reached – computer order share dropped well below the majority. Mobile is on the cusp of becoming not only biggest traffic driver to retail sites, but also the biggest avenue for placing orders. The growth values are even more staggering – all of the growth in traffic and orders came from mobile. Computers and tablets saw either flat or declining growth in both KPIs, but mobile saw a staggering 43% growth in orders and 25% growth in traffic. The message could not be more clear: Retailers’ roadmaps should begin and end with optimizing everything – everything – for mobile.

Discount Rates Hit New Heights
It is no surprise that discount rates are highest in Q4, (thanks to Cyber Week), but this quarter’s discount rates broke records even for this peak shopping period. The average discount rate was 23%, a 9% increase over the same period last year. Shoppers received some amazing deals as peak days within the quarter saw average discount rates creep towards 30%.

Digital Shoppers Show the Strongest Buying Signals on Record
Shopping visits in Q4 were some of the most intentional that we have seen; Shoppers registered the highest levels of buying intent on record, with 18% of traffic demonstrating a buying signal, like searching for a product, adding a product to cart or starting a checkout, during their visit. Even 20% of shoppers using tablets, which continue to see traffic declines, displayed buying signals. In fact, tablets represented the strongest buying signals of all three devices. Meanwhile, the share of visits that resulted in a purchase rose by 10% overall, with mobile seeing the highest year-over-year gain of 17%.

For more data-driven insights, check out the latest Shopping Index, which uncovers the true story of shopping by analyzing the activity of more than 500 million shoppers across the globe, with a focus on key markets: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and Australia/New Zealand and the Nordics. This battery of benchmarks provides a deep look into the last nine quarters and the current state of digital commerce.

And for a deep dive into the Christmas/Holiday shopping season, check out All Wrapped Up.