Tesco and Asda have seen a sharp drop in traffic to their websites over the last year, new research shows, in a sign that supermarkets are facing fierce competition online as well as on the shop floor.
Visits to Tesco’s website through desktop computers and mobile devices dropped to 35m in November from 49m the same time last year, according to research compiled for City A.M. by data analytics firm SimilarWeb.
Asda’s traffic also fell from 30m to 22m while Morrisons, which has a smaller presence online, saw visits fall to 3.5m from 4.4m last year.
Only Sainsbury’s recorded a rise in traffic – albeit a modest one – to 8m from 7.5m last time.
Mobile shopping has boomed, with smartphones now accounting for 70 of all visits to the Big Four online sites, rather than desktop, SimilarWeb said.
Although Tesco continues to command the biggest number of visits, SimilarWeb said Asda came top in terms of keeping its customers engaged, with shoppers lingering for nine minutes on average on their website and visiting 22 pages.
That compares with eight minutes spent on Tesco’s site, 8.53 minutes for Sainsbury’s and six for Morrisons. The average number of pages visited each time was similar across all the Big Four at around 20 per visit.
"Engagement is very important in seeing in whether the supermarket is successfully engaging its customers," SimilarWeb's digital insight manager Pascal Cohen told City A.M.
"You can have a lot of traffic but if one million leave after one minute then its not very good stats. You can see that by number of visits Tesco is bigger than Asda. However Asda has better engagement on its site."
Choen added that all four had a poor social media presence, accounting for only a small percentage of traffic to their sites. However of the social media generated to their websites, Facebook leads the way, followed by YouTube and Twitter.