This article originally appeared on The Next Web
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2015 will bring about big changes to e-commerce technology and the way that apps’ performance is measured. At SimilarWeb, we’ve been analyzing the data and here are our four predictions for the year ahead.
Rankings and ratings data used in this articles has been collected directly from app stores. Web and Mobile Web and app data has been collected from our panel of millions of users who agree to share their data with us in exchange for free apps.
Small shops will be powered by the big guys
The e-commerce marketplace is taking off like never before, and it’s largely powered by a small number of platforms.
As we can can see from the graphs below, traffic to Flipkart, Amazon Seller Central, Shopify and AliExpress is on the rise.
The market is growing thanks to more attractive pricing, easier and broader shipping options and aggressive marketing techniques by these marketplaces. This trend upwards shows no sign of slowing in 2015. Indeed, Flipkart and AliExpress saw accelerated growth towards the end of 2014.
Of course, these four platforms aren’t all directly comparable as products – Shopify powers commerce on sellers’ own websites, whereas Amazon, Flipkart and AliExpress act as marketplaces for sellers to compete against others for custom. Still, the message is clear, interest in small shops powered by online giants is increasing.
US giants will lose their grip on the global online retail industry
Look at the chart below – in particular, numbers four to 10. Yes, those are all non-US companies and for the most part they’re showing more rapid growth than the incumbent American giants at the top. In fact, the only company in the top ten to see a year-on-year drop in search traffic volume between October 2013 and October 2014 was the top dog, eBay.
With that kind of growth in mind, expect 2015 to be a challenging year for eBay, Amazon and Walmart, as international competition kicks up a gear.
App valuations will be based on engagement
Accurately measuring an app’s audience is key to determining its value. While downloads can tell us something about how well an app is attracting new users, measuring continued usage – engagement – is far more informative as to its actual popularity.
2015 will see a rise in the measurement of app engagement.
Consider this graph below, comparing current installs versus daily active users for two popular games, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga. The ‘Installs’ figures might be misleading, presenting Candy Crush as the more popular app, while we can see very clearly that in fact more users are actively using Clash of Clans.
And when measuring retention, players of Clash of Clans stick around much longer than players of Angry Birds.
With this data in mind, expect to see engagement become a metric with far more widespread importance in app valuation than app store download charts in 2015.
E-commerce becomes more social
Social e-commerce is nothing new, but it’s most certainly starting to click with consumers.
Check out the growth in social referrals to some of America’s top e-commerce sites between 2013 and 2014. In almost all cases, they’re growing faster than the sites’ traffic overall. This reflects a growing emphasis on social in e-commerce sites’ marketing strategies.
When it comes to sharing purchase ideas, Pinterest is a popular destination. Its visual pinboard-style approach makes giving inspiration to others a cinch.
SimilarWeb data shows that Pinterest is the top social referrer to e-commerce sites, and the amount of traffic it sends is on the up.
Meanwhile, as we can see from the graph below, Pinterest’s traffic has more than doubled between June 2013 and November 2014.
With this in mind, expect social sharing (and Pinterest in particular) to be of even more importance to e-commerce sites in 2015.