The Progress of the E‑Commerce Percentage of Retail Sales


In the spirit of the end of the year holiday season, let’s discuss the way people are shopping in this day and age. I know, how festive, right? But, when most of us think about the holiday season, our thoughts include overcrowded malls full of pushy people in a hurry. No wonder that, in just one year, the e‑commerce percentage of retail sales has risen 13% and mobile is leading the charge with a 45% increase, according to UPS and comScore’s 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper survey.

A Closer Look at Today's E‑Commerce Percentage of Retail Sales

Although slowly losing popularity, desktop is still the leader in online sales. At the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, 93% of American consumers who own desktop computers made online purchases on these devices. Mobile shopping comes in second at 48%, and tablet falls in third at 39%. This is a great trend for companies that use search because most research done before making a sale is also done online, boosting the e‑commerce percentage of retail sales. Here is the breakdown of how consumers are researching and purchasing:

  • Search and Buy Online: 43%
  • Search and Buy in Store: 21%
  • Search Online, Buy in Store: 14%
  • Research Online and in Store, Buy in Store: 8%
  • Research Online and in Store, Buy Online: 7%
  • Search in Store, Buy Online: 7%

Regardless of where the purchase ends up being made, 57% of consumers use online search as their primary form of product research. Also, another 15% of consumers use a mix of online and in-​store research before making a purchase. As a result, companies that utilize search engine optimization and search engine marketing have the opportunity to reach roughly 72% of shoppers. Desktop is also the device shoppers use the most while researching their purchases. 93% of shoppers at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 used a desktop or laptop to conduct research, while 59% used a smartphone and 53% used a tablet.

Remind your clients in this hectic time of last-​minute shopping that search engine marketing and search engine optimization are exceedingly important in driving sales and progressing the e‑commerce percentage of retail sales. Not only that, with a significant amount of online shopping being done via mobile devices, it is imperative that your clients’ advertising be well represented through this format.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.