Roll up, roll up, get your digital marketing stats.

The best digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week include findings from our own Top 100 Digital Agencies report, as well as studies of chatbots, B2B sales and bricks-and-mortar retail.

Remember to visit the new and improved Internet Statistics Database, where subscribers can mine many more marketing stats.

3,200 UK retail stores have shut since 2014

ONS figures this week showed that almost 3,200 UK stores were shut since the beginning on 2014. The total number of bricks and mortar retailers is now 263,070.

Obviously, ecommerce is the elephant in the room. Richard Stables, CEO of Kelkoo, offers some context:

“A reluctance or inability to overhaul their online offering has resulted in the challenges for countless retailers, most recently John Lewis and House of Fraser. This should be a lesson to all retailers that consumer demand has shifted and retailers have to invest in a coherent online offering and harness the opportunity of omnichannel marketing. Ted Baker and H&M’s strong recent online performance shows that a successful shift to ecommerce is achievable for traditional high street retailers.”

“Whilst innovative brands and retailers can thrive with direct access to consumers through social media and other channels, many household names have stagnated and face a crucial make-or-break festive season.”

Growth of UK Top 100 Digital Agencies consolidated in top 10

Accenture Interactive topped Econsultancy’s Top 100 Digital Agency rankings for a second consecutive year, with fee income for the year ending Aug 2017 a whopping £351,424,177.

The 2018 financial data shows the Top 100 have grown billings on average 20% year-on-year from, collectively taking £2.8bn this year.

However, this growth is consolidated in the biggest agencies. Over a five-year period, the average net fee income of the top 10 agencies has steadily increased, whilst the average fee income of the remaining agencies in the ranking has been more or less stagnant.

agency fee income top 10 vs rest 2018

Nearly half (49%) of UK and US consumers would be happy for someone to deliver and stock their fridges with groceries while they’re out

That doozy of a stat is from Salmon’s Future of Commerce report. Download it here.

Stakeholder involvement with AI is low

survey from Globant has revealed a lack of organisational and stakeholder participation in conversations about AI. Key findings include:

  • 48% of CEOs are involved in conversations about AI, while only 24% of CTOs and 22% of CIOs are involved in these conversations.
  • 33% of department leads are involved in conversations about AI internally.
  • Only 16% of stakeholders who will actually be using the technology are involved in conversations about AI internally.

Over half of consumers prefer human interaction to chatbots

Sticking with AI, the DMA Customer Engagement 2018 study has lots of findings, with plenty on chatbots and voice assistants.

51% of customers say they prefer interacting with people rather than using chatbots. Lots of caveats here, of course, not least whether the efficacy of chatbots at the moment is causing apathy.

Checking delivery status (53%) and product FAQs (50%) are two of the most cited use cases for chatbots that attract customers’ attention

usage of smart home assistant- top actions

A Marketer’s Guide to Chatbots

When it comes to smart home assistants, the DMA survey found 23% have access to one, and 28% are interested in owning one in future.

23% have access to a smart home assistant

Amongst those that have stopped using smart home assistants, 41% say they did so because they don’t want to share data, 39% worry about security, and 38% don’t think they are useful.

Friends and family far more influential than celebrities

Bill Gates’ new business venture, social recommendation app Likewise, prompted Sprout to share some data with us from their recent social index and a study into company transparency.

  • 61% of consumers said they would be more likely to research a product or service recommended on social by a friend vs. 36% for recommendations from influencers and celebrities.
  • 42% of consumers will share brand recommendations with friends and family of brands that are transparent.

UX grows as social, SEO & ecommerce decline

Back to Econsultancy’s Top 100 Digital Agencies report now, which has revealed that technical development, on average, accounts for 24% of fee income from digital work. This makes technical development the largest discipline, overtaking creative work, which commanded most income five years ago.

Within these broader disciplines, user experience now accounts for an average of 14% of fee income from digital activities, rising from 10% in 2014.

However, social media, SEO and ecommerce are all dwindling as a percentage of income at the Top 100 agencies. This trend can perhaps be understood within the broader context of increasing consolidation of marketing activity in-house.

fee income by discipline, top 100 agencies 2018

For more, read our summary article, Top 100 Digital Agencies 2018: State of the industry.

Knowledgable sales reps still vital for B2B sales

According to Showpad’s just released New B2B Buyer Experience report, 38% of B2B buyers prefer to interact directly with sales reps instead of doing their own research, while 32% preferred a combination of research and conversations.

More than half of respondents said they prefer calling (54%) and emailing (56%) sales reps to get the answers to their questions before purchasing, and 40% say they prefer onsite visits.

Sixty percent of C-level executives and 82% of VPs say not understanding sales content slows down their purchase decisions. The chart below shows factors impeding the B2B purchase decision, averaged across all seniorities. Difficulty understanding information is second only to disagreements over price.

factors-impeding-b2b-purchase-decision

That’s it for this week’s fairly short roundup (whilst Nikki, our usual stat hunter is on holiday). Remember to head over to the Internet Statistics Database, where subscribers can mine digital marketing and ecommerce stats.