Black Friday and Cyber Monday have both come and gone, and now the holiday shopping season kick-off results are in. First the bad news: in-store Black Friday sales were down 1.5% overall, reports TheStreet. But there is also plenty of good news – and new developments – for digital marketers to consider.
Here are nine stats and facts about the start of the 2015 holiday shopping season which show it’s going to be a good year for online shopping and all things digital.
9 Facts About Online Shopping and Digital Marketing for the 2015 Holiday Season
1. More people shopped online than in stores this Black Friday.
According to the National Retail Federation‘s Thanksgiving Weekend Survey, more than 103 million people shopped online while 102 million went to brick-and-mortar stores. Additionally, more folks who got an early start did so online: 41 million people shopped online on Thanksgiving itself, compared to 34.6 million who headed out to stores.
2. This year saw another robust Cyber Monday, with online shopping sales up at least 12% from last year.
3. Mobile was a big part of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping experience.
Mobile made huge gains, with IBM Watson reporting that mobile devices (57.2%) were responsible for more Black Friday online traffic than desktops – a 174% rise from 2014. In terms of online sales, mobile accounted for 27% – that’s up nearly 33% since last year. On Cyber Monday, says Adobe, mobile devices drove 49% of web traffic and 28% of online sales – representing over $514 million in ecommerce purchases.
4. Amazon dominated ecommerce, with a whopping one-third of all online sales on Black Friday 2015.
Online retail giant Amazon was the “clear winner” this year, with 36% of all online Black Friday sales. TheStreet credits Amazon’s dominant display to four key factors:
- Good user experience on mobile devices
- Massive selection of products
- Customer trust, built up over the years
- The overall growth of mobile device and technology usage among consumers
5. Black Friday shoppers using tablets spent the most money on online shopping orders.
According to IBM Watson, orders placed via tablets averaged $136, more than the average orders from desktops, laptops or smartphones. Once people were back in the office, however, desktops took the lead with average Cyber Monday orders of $128 – although tablets were still in second place.
6. But smartphones are still the most popular mobile device for Black Friday and Cyber Monday online shopping.
Smartphones represented 36.8% of all online traffic on Cyber Monday and 44.7% on Black Friday, “more than three times that of tablets” on either day (11.1% and 12.5% respectively), reports IBM Watson. Smartphones also drove more sales than tablets: 15.2% versus 12.4% on Cyber Monday and 20.6% versus 15.5% on Black Friday.
7. Consumers shopping online have high expectations for user experience.
When it comes to social buzz, Cyber Monday was viewed most positively: 56% of some 35 million social media messages analyzed by Adobe expressed “joy or admiration,” versus 40% for Black Friday.
Adobe also says that online shopping traffic on Cyber Monday was so great that the out-of-stock rate was at an all-time high of 13 out of 100 products – over twice the normal rate – and “several retailers experienced temporary outages and slow checkouts.” Target was one such retailer to experience website problems, writes MediaPost, and got saddled with its very own Twitter hashtag as a result: #CyberMondayFail.
8. When it comes to holiday shopping, email isn’t dead: email-driven revenue doubled for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.
Yesmail released a report examining email data from its clients in a range of industries including retail, consumer-packaged goods (CPG), and consumer services which found that “email-driven purchases made a killing.” Cyber Monday email-driven orders more than doubled, while Black Friday email-driven sales increased 1.5 times over 2014.
9. Today’s digital consumers don’t shop just during business hours or on “big” sales days – they use websites and mobile apps to shop when it suits them.
Over the full Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Adobe says ecommerce sales were up 15% year-over-year to $15 billion. It also reports that so-called “brick-and-click” retailers (i.e. those companies that integrate their online and offline presences) had the strongest YoY sales growth, and 18% reversed “the trend of Cyber Monday being an online-only retailer day.”
Multichannel Merchant explains how holiday shopping has changed and Black Friday just isn’t as big a deal in today’s digital world:
Traditionally, [Black Friday has] been a mechanism for retailers to drive shoppers to brick and mortar establishments, incentivized by deals that could only be redeemed in person. Because ecommerce now enables consumers to access any product they want, at any time, for the best possible price, the allure of in-store adventures on Black Friday has diminished somewhat. Competitive e-commerce has effectively elongated the holidays from a shopper perspective.
Consumers don’t limit themselves to one day any more that they limit their sales experience to one channel, combining in-store shopping with online more than ever before.
The bottom line:
It’s important to remember that shopping is now less confined to one-day “events” like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The consumer purchase experience takes place over over much longer time periods, says Multichannel Merchant:
Shoppers are shifting from in-store shopping binges to a steadier trickle of online holiday shopping over the span of days or weeks.
Consumers also research, shop and otherwise engage with brands and retailers across a range of traditional channels – i.e. physical stores – and digital channels including email, social media and display advertising (which, by offering discounts to shoppers, saw a 50% increase in its share of online sales). The National Retail Federation explains that mobile devices “served as their own channel” this year, with some 57% of smartphone and tablet owners using their devices to research products, browse holiday deals and, of course, make purchases.
As TheStreet puts it, retailers can look at these stats and trends and “rest easy:”
Consumers have shown they are willing to spend aggressively this holiday season, even if it hasn’t necessarily been via a trip to the local mall.
Overall success with customers is going to be correlated with truly optimized cross-channel marketing campaigns, that send the right message to the right consumer at the right time. And that optimization starts with deep customer intelligence and the ability to track customers accurately and efficiently, no matter where they go online or offline, and at different times.
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