An interesting data point from the number crunchers at Adobe: social media is generating more traffic for retailers but those visitors aren’t converting into sales.

Social media revenue-per-visitor (RPV) has dropped 11 per cent since the third quarter of 2016, despite rising referral traffic from social networks to retailers’ sites, according to data from Adobe.

The figures are contained in the software company’s annual holiday sales report, which is based on an analysis of the activity passing through Adobe’s marketing and commerce platforms, as well as a survey of 1000 US shoppers.

“As social media becomes a larger and larger share of people’s media time, it has also grown significantly as a source of traffic. Yet that traffic isn’t driving large purchases. Social is the only marketing channel to see a decline in revenue per visit,” said Taylor Schreiner, director, Adobe Digital Insights.

The data may suggest time spent on social media could be shifting towards browsing, research or entertainment rather than actively shopping. However the findings from the survey indicate that a year of negative headlines has taken the shine of social media and had an impact on shopping behaviour.

Source: Adobe Digital Insights

“In addition, 25 per cent fewer consumers surveyed expect to consult social media for gift ideas, compared with two years ago. We attribute this to consumers’ weakening trust in social networks,” Taylor said.

These findings are specific to the US and Adobe isn’t able to provide any comparable statistics for the Australian market.

The most value traffic comes from customers that go directly to retailer’s website, with a 36 per cent increase in revenue per visit.

Search is the second highest RPV growth at 23 per cent, followed by referrer sites like RetailMeNot (15 per cent) and email at 8 per cent.

Adobe is tipping online sales to continue to grow, anticipating consumers will spend US$124.1 billion online this holiday season in the US.

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