Report: Search Engines Responsible For 40% Of Holiday Traffic To Retailer Websites

Experian Logo November 2013As part of its Consumer Insights webinar last week, marketing services firm Experian revealed search engines were responsible for driving more than 40 percent of upstream traffic to Hitwise 500 Retailer websites during the 2013 holiday season.

While still representing the largest share, Experian reported search engines experienced a 13 percent drop in the amount of upstream traffic sent to retailers when comparing traffic data from the 2012 holiday season.

Experian Holiday upstream traffic stats

According to Experian, the footwear brand “Uggs” ranked No. 1 for top branded product search terms during the four weeks leading up to December 28. XBox One held the top spot for a brief period during Thanksgiving week and on Black Friday, but Uggs claimed its lead by Cyber Monday and stayed No. 1 during the following four weeks.

Experian Holiday top branded search search terms

Experian also ranked branded searches based on term-variations, i.e. different spellings for each of the branded search terms. When measuring term variations, “iPad” took the lead Thanksgiving week and held it throughout the holiday season.

Experian Holiday variation hot product searches

Interestingly, while 2013 proved to be the biggest holiday shopping season on record, consumers were not as interested in coupons this year. According to Experian’s data, searches for retailer-specific coupons dropped during the 2013 holiday season when compared to the same days in 2012.

Experian Holiday Search retailer coupons

Experian’s report also measured the Hitwise 500 social traffic sources during the holidays, which is covered on our partner site at Marketing Land: Facebook and YouTube: Top Social Traffic Sources for E-commerce in December.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Stats: Hitwise | Stats: Search Behavior


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • JustConsumer

    “search engines experienced a 13 percent drop”

    Predictable. Why use search engine when SERPs are stuffed with the same retailers almost for any query. Even monkey would remember direct paths to the retailers after couple of searches.

    Google itself started to suffer from its quality-replaced-by-popularity approach. Good.

  • Paul Steinbrueck

    Thanks for the post Amy. It provides some great insight into the changing trends in online marketing. Does “search engines” include both paid and organic results? If so, are you able to share those numbers individually?

    And what is “shopping and classifieds?” Can you give a couple of examples?

  • Colin Guidi

    I assume that “shopping and classifieds” include PLAs (product listing ads), or at least that would encompass Google Shopping.

  • lavista4u

    lol well said….

  • kramer guy

    - 13% and no, there is no ZEBRA update

  • kramer guy

    - 13% and no, there is no ZEBRA update

  • Christian Noel

    That just isn’t an accurate statement. It is isn’t strictly a popularity play. If a site has many links pointing to it from a variety of quality sources yes that helps. However, both Panda and Penguin updates were meant to a) deal with low quality sites that could game the link system with numbers b) in the case of Penguin force publishers to reap what they have sown in terms of where they get their links.

    Search engines took a 13% drop sure. However, I don’t think that is for any of the reasons you have suggested.

    More than likely in the perma logged in world we live in it is likely that most of the drop in search was picked up in social. Which makes sense since in any given day the average person will interact with that platform more often than they search for something in a search engine. Social is better able to get the casual potential customer.

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