First-quarter 2023 earnings results are in. The heyday of do-it-yourself home projects has subsided — for now. A closer look at desktop web traffic that resulted in conversion was also down for heavy-hitters The Home Depot Co. (down 22.8%), Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (down 17%) and Overstock.com Inc. (down 33.6%), according to estimates by Similarweb, which monitors website traffic.
Total U.S. web traffic from Feb.-April 2023 was -5.3% for Home Depot, -8.9% for Lowe’s, and -13.1% for Overstock, according to Similarweb estimates.
Home Depot (ranked No. 4 in the 2023 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 database) had the best conversion rate (3.3%) among home improvement merchants, which include Lowe’s (No. 12), Overstock.com (No. 50), Wayfair Inc. (No 10), Ikea, and Ace Hardware Corp. (No. 662). That’s down half a point from 3.8% a year prior and 3.8% in the quarter ended Jan. 31. Ikea ranks No. 3 in the Digital Commerce 360 Europe database.
When compared to earnings results for Q1, only Lowe’s reported an increase in online sales (6%) for the three-month period ended May 5.
Home Depot online sales for fiscal Q1 ended April 30 fell 2.9%. While Overstock.com reported that online sales were down 29% in its fiscal Q1 ended March 31. Wayfair reported revenue decreased 7.3%, active customers decreased 14.6% and orders were down 6.7% for its fiscal Q1 ended March 31.
Home Depot led the pack in web traffic
With more than 521 million visits to its website in Q1 2023, Home Depot outpaced Lowe’s 321 million visits and 303 million visits to Wayfair.com, according to Similarweb estimates of desktop and mobile web visits from Feb.-April 2023.
Ikea has the most web visits that lead to conversion
Ikea’s converted web visits grew 0.3%, the only merchant to grow in this category. Wayfair’s conversion rate decreased 0.1%, followed by Ace Hardware (-0.2%), Lowe’s (-0.3%), Home Depot (-0.5%) and Overstock (-0.6%).
Lowe’s lost the most web traffic share but gained online sales in Q1
It may be quality of time, not quantity of time, when it comes to web traffic visits. Lowe’s web traffic declined in Q1 but online sales increased 6% — an anomaly among competitors whose ecommerce sales declined.
Bounce rates were down for Lowe’s but up for Home Depot, according to Similarweb estimates. Lowe’s bounce rate decreased 2.77% in April 2023 year over year.
“This could reflect a better ecommerce experience for website visitors,” says David Carr, senior insights manager. Over the last few years, Lowe’s has invested in upgrading its 15-year-old legacy software system.
Online sales increased 6%, representing more than a 10% sales penetration. Lowe’s will continue to focus on upgrading its B2B Pro digital experience with new tools and personalization, said Marvin Ellison, chairman, president and CEO, during the retailer’s May 23 earnings call. Ellison attributed online growth to an increase in its pro sales. Lowe’s pro customers are contractors, repair remodelers, tradesmen, as well as property management and facility management professionals, according to the merchant.
“We also continue to enhance our DIY online experience by making home improvement projects easier for consumers to visualize, estimate and shop,” Ellison told investors. “These investments are paying off with higher online convergence and attachment rates.”
Consumers are also spending less time per website visit, according to Similarweb’s estimates. The average minutes per visit, desktop and mobile web, worldwide, is on the decline.
In April 2023, the time spent decreased year over year:
Ace Hardware gains the most web traffic in Q1
Smaller merchant Ace Hardware’s desktop web traffic grew 22.4%, according to Similarweb estimates of desktop and mobile web visits from Feb.-April 2023. That’s in line with Ace Hardware’s Q1 2023 (ended April 1) report of a 22% increase in online visits. The merchant reported that online revenue increased 11% compared with the year prior.
Wayfair web traffic also increased 3.1%.
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