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Google Shopping Dominates as First Quarter MVP

Andre Golsorkhi

For some retailers, Q1 is their “holiday.” Consumers are making their New Year’s resolutions, and they want to buy products that help them get fit, get healthy, and get organized. They’re throwing Super Bowl parties and celebrating Valentine’s Day, and shopping for all the goods and gifts that go with these events.

For most retailers, though, the first quarter is more of a quiet time. They had their big bang back in November and December, and in Q1, things usually mellow out.

But when it came to Google Shopping, the first quarter of 2016 was big — across the board. Our analysis of retailers’ results found that revenue from Google Shopping grew by 52% YoY in Q1. Mobile led the charge, notching a 164% jump in sales over Q1 2015.

The year is just getting started, but early results confirm that Google Shopping should be top priority for retailers of all stripes. More details on how the quarter shook out in Google Shopping are in the press release we issued today:

Retail Sales From Google Shopping Grew by 52% YoY in the First Quarter

Mobile drove the majority of the growth, with revenue from smartphones increasing by 164%

PHILADELPHIA, April 13, 2016 — Retail sales typically slow down after the holiday season — but that wasn’t the case for sales from Google Shopping ads. E-commerce marketing technology company Sidecar found that revenue from Product Listing Ads (PLAs) grew by 52% year over year in the first quarter of 2016.

The biggest growth driver? Mobile. Sales from mobile PLAs grew by 164%. In addition, clicks were up by 171%, orders were up by 171%, and ROAS was up by 23%. At a sitewide level, retailers’ revenue from mobile devices grew by 45% year over year.

“Google Shopping has paved the way for product advertising as a whole — particularly on mobile devices,” said Andre Golsorkhi, CEO of Sidecar. “The first quarter shows that Google Shopping is a key customer acquisition channel, and it catapulted to the top priority of more online retailers in the U.S. It is a must-have channel — and, more important, a must-do-well channel.”

Retailers across all verticals are showing increased confidence in the channel. PLA spend grew by 47% YoY in Q1. And from Sidecar’s perspective, the company’s customer base doubled over the past two quarters.

Lumens, for instance, was experiencing firsthand the pressure to improve its Google Shopping strategy.

“We reached a tipping point in what we were able to manage ourselves without automated technology,” said Jeff Romero, Manager with Lumens.com. “We have a sizeable product catalog and equally sizeable Google Shopping budget. It also became overwhelming to try to bid our products differently on mobile versus desktop devices. We started using Sidecar because it evaluates and adjusts every product’s bid more accurately and more frequently than we could ever achieve.”

Retailers across all verticals are showing increased confidence in the channel. PLA spend grew by 47% YoY in Q1. And from Sidecar’s perspective, the company’s customer base doubled over the past two quarters, with Boscov’s, Case-Mate, Lumens, and other leading retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 500 and the SMB segments adopting its technology.

Other findings from Q1 further show that retailers have a growing opportunity to convert more traffic from Google Shopping PLAs. Click growth reached 98% year over year — exceeding the click growth during Holiday 2015 of 65%. And impressions in the channel were up by 130% year over year.

*Methodology: Total data is collected from 88.6 million user sessions on e-commerce retailers’ sites from Jan. 1, 2016 to Mar. 31, 2016, and from Jan. 1, 2015 to Mar. 31, 2015.

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