Today we released our second Demandware Shopping Index, which measures digital commerce growth and is based on an analysis of the shopping activity of over 200 million shoppers worldwide.

Once again, I’m struck by the furious pace of change in digital commerce. Year over year, digital commerce grew 23%[1] in the first quarter of 2015. That’s faster than the 20% year-over-year growth recorded in 2014.

Beyond the Shopping Index value, we’ve compiled a number of important change metrics and indicators that help shape the story of today’s digital commerce, including device trends, shopping activity, time on site and even discounts.

As you view the report, I have a few items for you to consider in order to make the most of this valuable resource:

Beware the dangers of an isolated metric

When isolated, any individual data point can be dangerous, leading to premature, incomplete or even inaccurate conclusions. For example, within device trends, we see that 18% of orders are placed on smartphones. Now, this number by itself seems small and maybe even dismissible, but certainly we all know that smartphones are growing fast as a shopping device, and that the adoption of mobile devices are having a profound impact on digital commerce growth.

Find shopper stories in the data

In the next few blog posts, I’ll share the stories that we find most compelling and relevant to the growth of digital commerce. When I’m looking for stories, I go back to those old grammar school days of diagramming sentences. Remember those? Pick out the subject, predicate and objects (I get a bit fuzzy after that. Sorry, Norwell Public Schools). To find a data story, I flip that approach around, use the shopper as the subject, and simply start adding data points. For example: “The shopper is spending less time per visit (down 31% YoY to 8.9 minutes) and the share of traffic from phones is growing aggressively (up 38% YoY, to 35%). You can see that we now have a nice start to a story.

Ask yourself, “how am I doing?” 

Maybe most important of all, these numbers are directional for you to benchmark yourself against others in the industry. In some cases, a metric that we provide here may not be on your personal dashboard but ask yourself, should it? For those readers who are Demandware clients, you have the deeper advantage of benchmarking yourself across some other analyses, like the Shopper Journey Benchmark – reach out to your Customer Success Manager to dig in further.

Inside this report, we’ve provided a number of change metrics. New to this report, you can filter many of those metrics by vertical, or view the metrics by country. I encourage you to take a look at the report and review the metrics, and most importantly to find the stories that the metrics, taken together, are telling.

[1]The Shopping Index is not indicative of Demandware’s operational performance or its reported financial metrics including Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) growth and comparable GMV growth. The analysis reflects a comparison of digital commerce sites transacting in Q1 2015 and Q1 2014.