Attention Retailers: Facebook & Twitter Visitors Spend More Online Than Average Internet Users

comScore released some hard-hitting facts and figures on the state of the US Retail Economy in the First Quarter of 2010.

Before I delve into highlighting the takeaway, let me start with these two thoughts if you’re not sure you want to read on:

Two Myths –

A)     Social Media audience is all young people with no money

B)      Low ad clickthrough rates means low performance

Two Facts –

A)     Social networking site users spend 1.5x more online than the average internet user

B)      CPMs on social networking sites 5x less than average Internet CPM

The Low-Down on the State of Our Economy –

1)      e-Commerce continues to gain share of retail spending (and peaks in colder seasons), reaching 8.1% by end of Q1-2010

2)      e-Commerce sales in Q1-2010 were up 6% compared to a year ago (travel up 2% and non-travel up 10%)

3)      e-Commerce showed double-digit growth for the first time since Q2 2008.

4)      Strong pre-Easter sales in March this year, where buying dropped a month later in April.

5)      Website visitation grew 12% in April versus a year ago (though some large retailers experienced in single- to double-digit declines in unique visitors in April).

6)      “March surge in spending was propelled by savings, which drove the personal savings rate down to 2.7% of after-tax incomes, the lowest level since September 2008.” – Associated Press, May 3, 2010

7)      “If one subtracts the stimulus effect and the boost from changing inventories – also a temporary factor – there’s been no recovery at all. Growth in the first and second quarters of 2010 would be zero.” – WSJ Blog, May 15, 2010

8)      U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis just revised GDP down from 3.2% to 3.0% for Q1 2010.

9)      Economists say it takes about 3% growth in GDP to create enough jobs just to keep up with population growth. Growth would have to be about 5% for a full year just to drive the unemployment rate down by 1 percentage point.” – Associated Press, April 30, 2010

10)   Consumers have found themselves “trading down” to cope with decreased spending power; instead of buying their favorite brands, they cope with other less-expensive brands; the degree of impact varies by product category

11)   The use of Coupons is coming on strong, where 29 million people visited a coupon site in April 2010 (led by, and

12)   Consumers choose “Free Shipping” as their most important cost-saving measure, followed by sale items and no tax.

13)   The larger the retailer, the more attractive the incentives such as free shipping & discounts are.

14)   Men are much more likely to buy from pure-play retailers (i.e. single-channel retailer like

15)   Flash Sale sites like,, and continue to grow and their users spend several times more than average online.

16)   23% of Twitter users follow businesses and retailers to find special deals, promotions or sales, or use Twitter for product reviews & opinions.

17)   Some retailers like Teleflora (48%), Levi Strauss (33.5%) and SnorgTees (29.6%) are spending relatively more on Social Media display advertising.

18)   It’s official: Facebook & Twitter visitors spend more money online than average.

(Courtesy of comScore‘s State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy in Q1 2010 presented by comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni)


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