Mobile shopping is going to be <i>big</i> this month – are you ready?

While more large retailers in the US opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year and, by all accounts, did rather well, the Thursday sales appear to have been made at the expense of America’s biggest shopping day, Black Friday.

According to ShopperTrak, sales on Thursday and Friday collectively were up 2.3% in brick-and-mortar stores over the same two days last year. However, foot traffic on Black Friday was down more than 11% on 2012 numbers, with sales down by 13.2%. Many Friday shoppers reported that far from frenzied, shopping malls were at times eerily quiet. That said, the cash registers were on overdrive at Walmart. The company reported it sold two million TVs, 1.4 million tablets, 1.9 million dolls, and 2.8 million towels. People were even fighting over the towels.

Online sales surge

Looking online over the same two days, sales surged. According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark which tracks about 800 retail websites in the United States, online sales on Thursday Day were up by nearly 20% over last year, and by almost 19% on Black Friday.

Mobile sales soar

Mobile traffic also soared and accounted for 39.7% of all online traffic on Black Friday which represents an increase of 34% over Black Friday in 2012. The increase in mobile traffic played out in the form of mobile accounting for 21.8% of online sales, an increase just short of 43% over last year.

Interesting, accordingly to IBM, about 25% of all online traffic came from a smartphone on Black Friday as opposed to tablets which drove just over 14%. However, tablets accounted for 14.4% of all online sales which was double that of smartphones, which accounted for 7.2%. This data confirms the idea that people use their smartphones to research items, while they prefer to larger format of the tablet to shop and make the purchases. The data shows that on average, tablet users spent $132.75 per order compared to smartphone users who spent $115.63. Those using an iOS devise spent an average of $127.92 per order, while those using an Android device averaged $105.20. Sales from iOS based phones climbed to more than 18% of all online sales, while sales from Android based devices accounted for 3.5%.

Over here, according to the CEO of Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA), Margy Osmond, the biggest weeks of spending are still to come. This week ANRA is expecting to see sales totalling $6.6 billion, of which about $4.2 billion going to bricks and mortar stores, $1.2 billion to online Australian retailers and the remainder going to online retailers overseas.

Indeed, according to the Adobe Digital Index which is based on a global survey of online shoppers that included 400 Australians, ecommerce spending in Australia is expected to rise by 6% year on year in the lead-up to Christmas.

In Australia, Green Monday, which this year falls on Monday 9 December is expected to be the nation’s biggest day for online shopping. Online sales are predicted to increase more than two and a half times usual levels.

And like the US, mobile devices are expected to play a greater role in Christmas shopping in Australia this year. Whether this means shoppers using them to research prices while in physical stores to find the best deal, or avoiding the shops altogether to shop online from the comfort of their couches depends to a large degree on whether the shopper is driven by price, availability or convenience. Consumers are shopping online and offline at the same time. Retailers who can deliver seamless experiences to consumers wherever, whenever and however they choose to shop will be the big winners.

As Forrester’s points out in its top technology trends for 2014 and beyond: “A great digital experience is no longer a nice to have – it’s now a make-or-break point for your business.”

 

Simon van Wyk
BY Simon van Wyk ON 6 December 2013
Founder, HotHouse Interactive. Tweet him @Hot_House