For the past year and half, we’ve been analyzing the global digital shopping behavior of hundreds of millions of shoppers for the quarterly Shopping Index. The latest edition reaffirms more of the same, to a degree, but also introduces some surprises of which retailers should take note.

Here are four key takeaways from our global study of digital shopping:

Mobile Keeps Winning…

The three most important things happening in digital commerce: mobile, mobile and mobile. During the the first quarter phones drove the most traffic of any device. More interesting, though, is that mobile shopping intent is rising – sharply. Baskets are a strong sign of intent, and mobile baskets accounted for 94% of the growth in digital baskets, thanks to 70% more mobile baskets year-over-year. Phones accounted for two-thirds of the growth in orders globally. It is the source of digital’s growth. How long before it is the only source of digital commerce growth? This summer we will publish an in-depth look at mobile commerce, the Mobile Shopping Focus Report, and will answer that question, so stay tuned.

…But Web Growth Continues

While mobile soars, global digital commerce continues its very healthy growth, 17%, year over year. That’s in stark contrast to the flat or (for some unfortunate retailers) negative in-store comparable sales. Even mature markets like the US, UK and Germany are seeing ecommerce growth in the mid-teens, while smaller but fast moving markets like Canada and France are seeing 35% and 21% growth. It should be noted that attraction continues to be the main source of growth – 89% of digital’s growth can be attributed to the increase in shoppers in digital.

Shoppers Search with Purpose…

While site search usage has been flat over the past year, we found that those who do search are diving deeper, and with more precision. The use of color in searches is one indication, and is up year over year. (see graphic below) More importantly, searches that include color convert 22% more often than those that don’t. A retailer’s ability to return great (and relevant) results, whether through bots or even traditional site search, continues to be at the core of digital commerce.

color of digital

…And That’s Why Context Matters

Time spent on site continues to fall, especially on mobile, so retailers must grab users’ attention immediately and and deliver a site experience that will keep them there. Shoppers will flee sites with slow load times, annoying registrations, search and checkout, or bad design. Alternatively, distributed commerce initiatives like Pinterest Buyable Pins and even the developments within Facebook Messenger promise to streamline the shopping experience.

While it’s difficult to predict exactly where shoppers will gravitate and which technologies they’ll appropriate, this quarter’s Shopping Index provides yet another glimpse into the minds of today’s shoppers and helps inform retailers’ initiatives and investments. We will continue to dig deep to uncover practical, valuable analysis for the world’s leading retailers.

The Q1 Shopping Index