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Google Search Business Declining, Voice-Based Shopping Slow Adoption, and Farnell’s Online Channel Growth

Google Search

Google Search Business on the Decline

Business stemming from the biggest search engine on the web is slowing down. In its 2019 financial report, Google parent company Alphabet revealed that its search sales rose only 15% in 2019, a slower place than 2018’s 22%. Although Google search remains one of the most profitable businesses on the web, the slowing Google search sales may stem from a few modern factors. Specifically, Google search ads on mobile often take up entire phone screens, prompting shoppers to click out of them entirely, and heavy competition from sites like Amazon for search ad space. “This hollowing out of search is real,” says Mark Shmulik, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. “To maintain growth at even this lower level, Google will have to generate more revenue from its Maps service, image search and shopping search ads.”

What stood out to us?

Can’t find anything.

Amazon Alexa Speaker

U.S.Consumers Slow to Adopt Voice-Based Shopping

Although voice assistants like Siri and Alexa have become prolific in popular culture, using them to make purchases apparently isn't catching on. In a report from eMarketer, smart speaker sales in the U.S. are expected to significantly grow from 2019 to 2020 (18.3 to 21.6 million speakers), but the percentage of those speakers being used for digital sales is only expected to grow from 9.4% to 10.8%. eMarketer attributes this stagnant growth to factors such as security concerns preventing shoppers from buying products verbally, and shoppers still preferring a screen to visually confirm what they have purchased. “Though there are thousands of smart speaker apps that do everything, many consumers don’t realize that they need to take extra steps to utilize all capabilities,” says eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock. “Instead, they stick with direct commands to play music or ask about the weather, because those are basic to the device.”

What stood out to us?

Consumers can’t keep up with how tech companies think they should shop.

Amazon Pickup and Returns building

Farnell Grows its Online Channel Globally

Farnell, a distributor of electronic components with over 40 ecommerce sites worldwide, has a healthy online business with ecommerce accounting for 70% of its total orders last fiscal quarter. With this success, Farnell is taking additional steps to build out its ecommerce. Specifically, the distributor is currently improving search marketing through enhanced SEO, increasing site page-load speeds, and redesigning web pages and adding self-service tools to improve user experience. One of the most prominent improvements Farnell is making is expanded options for electronic payments, as this feature is essential for driving global growth. “The driver is really a better overall value proposition for the user,” says Farnell CEO Chris Breslin. “We provide options and, thus, more people use the site.”

What stood out to us?

The driver is really a better overall value proposition.

In the headlines

  • Employee-Free Slurpee: 7-Eleven is piloting a cashierless store at its corporate HQ in Irving, Texas. 
  • Pay It Forward: Payment giant Worldline is set to buy rival Ingenico as fintech industry competition heats up.
  • Be Mine Online: has revamped its mobile site with new features ahead of Valentine’s Day.
  • Lyft to School: Rideshare service HopSkipDrive raises $22M to focus on school transportation.

Before you go

See how...

Startup Deliverr is gearing up to help ecommerce companies achieve two-day shipping.

Read why...

Bias is emerging from AI algorithms that interact with online shoppers. 

Look at this if...

You want to learn how three friends created a multimillion-dollar international express delivery business in five years.

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