Social commerce network has shone a light on where online retailers are pulling in the bulk of their traffic, with data from SimilarWeb finding that ‘referrals’ are trumping visits driven by email or social.

In the first half of 2016, 42% of traffic to the UK’s top 25 retailers, headed up by Amazon, eBay and Gumtree, arrived directly, but there was a boost for the affiliate channel with news that referrals accounted for the next biggest source, at 19.5%.

Worryingly, paid search (3.9%), email (2.8%) and social media (2.6%) fell way down the ranks in terms of the volume of traffic driven to country’s biggest e-commerce sites.

Organic leads the way

It could be naive to play down these figures down. However; dispelling direct acquisitions from the picture, Google alone is responsible for driving roughly 2.2 billion visits, or nearly a third (31%) of traffic.

Facebook, the most significant website in generating visits, contributed 1.5% throughout H2, equating to 106 million visits.

While certain channels are proving to supply slimmer pickings across the board than would perhaps be expected, there are bucks in the trends, such as, which garnered 10.5% of traffic via social sites such as Pinterest or Twitter.

Meanwhile, offers site Groupon had the most success with driving traffic via mail, such as newsletters, which were to thank for over a quarter (27%) of the site’s H1 traffic volume.

Furthermore, those forking out customer acquisition budget on display ads were made to consider their strategy, in light of just 0.3% of traffic coming from this form of marketing throughout the first half of 2016.

Mobile dominates

Breaking down traffic sources by device, mobile has edged up to account for 3.8 billion site visits, or 53.5% of all traffic driven to the UK’s top retailers. This came despite a 2% dip between the first two quarters, where desktop took a corresponding uptick of 2%.

The clothing retailer recorded the highest share (70.4%) of mobile traffic throughout the first half, while topped the ranks for desktop, with 65% throughout the same period.  

For the number crunchers, we’ve included the full list of data sets below.