Hitwise, the online traffic measurement company, has produced some new research indicating that visitors to online retailers dropped for the first time in the month of March.
In the UK 8.6% of all Internet visits were to online retailers, as opposed to 9.7% for the same month in 2008.
Whilst it’s normal to see a traffic drop in this sector in Jan and Feb, which follows the retailing binge of Christmas, March normally shows a healthy bounce back in traffic.
According to the research, the traffic dropped as consumers adapted their shopping behaviour to the global recession. Since more people are feeling the pinch, they decided to spend less time shopping and more time doing other things.
So if overall traffic to online retailers is down, which traffic source specifically is in decline?
Paid search traffic dropped from 28% to 23% of the total, compared to a year earlier, which shows that online retailers are investing less of their revenues back into pay per click search marketing.
Since overall Internet traffic hasn’t declined, what are people doing instead? Well one beneficiary of the change in behaviour are social networking sites, which took an unprecedented 9.8% of all visits in the same month.
Hitwise director Robin Goad said: “The growth of social networking, online video and the continuing popularity of news websites has meant that an increasing proportion of consumers’ online time in the UK has been devoted to online media.”
Do you sell products on your website? Have you seen a traffic drop in March? And as a consumer do you think you’re shopping online a bit less that you used to? Leave us a comment below.