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Mobile Usage Transforming Holiday Shopping

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

December 06, 2013

Mobile Usage Transforming Holiday Shopping

By Daniel Brecht
Contributing Writer

Many U.S. consumers, nowadays, rely daily on their smartphones as a shopping aid to help them while browsing items in stores or to skip the lines altogether and buy online. This is proven by the large number of shopping apps available and downloaded by consumers today.

As the holiday shopping season kicks off on Thanksgiving weekend, mobile shopping increases, reports Mobidia (News - Alert) Technology, Inc., a provider of mobile analytics that delivers insights into mobile usage trends to help understand what people do and value in the mobile world.

Shopping online on key holiday dates, like Black Friday (News - Alert), the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., or Cyber Monday, December 2nd this year, helped consumers have access to a larger number of sale events than if they only shopped in-store. On those days, many relied on their mobile gadgets as holiday shopping companions.   

On Wednesday, December 4, Mobidia released new insight into these practices and revealed that consumers have engaged in substantial online browsing and buying on mobile devices on the biggest buying day of the year, Black Friday. It noted “a growing reliance on and usage of mobile shopping applications” (more than 25 were examined, including retail, internet, deal, and shopping aid apps) by smartphone users for their pre-holiday rush sales needs.

Mobidia discovered the following trends this year:

  • The total time spent using shopping applications increased significantly (above average) throughout 2013.
  • The usage of mobile shopping applications on Thanksgiving increased by 48 percent.
  • The usage of mobile shopping applications on Black Friday increased by 86 percent.

Clearly, Mobidia’s analysis of app usage indicates that mobile shopping, especially on important shopping days, has transformed consumers’ habits by including the utilization of portable devices, like their smartphone, and using mobile applications to replace or complement their physical and traditional online shopping, as shown during the holiday retail season.

“However, when comparing usage to core mobile applications such as Facebook (News - Alert), mobile shopping applications are still only accounting for a small fraction of mobile usage,” Mobidia noted.

  • The mobile shopping minutes made up, on average, only 4.23 percent of the time spent in Facebook over 2013.
  • However, on Black Friday, this percentage increased to 7.87 percent.

Indeed, a growing number of consumers used a mobile device to visit retailers’ sites over this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday (News - Alert), as Mobidia conveyed. It’s a time when retailers put up sales to attract shoppers and when consumers would rather avoid the crowds in malls (and in other stores) and opt for mobile shopping apps on smartphones and tablets instead.

U.S. consumer spending via mobility was “not only to make purchases, but also for coupons and promotions, to search for gifts and compare prices,” said Chris Hill (News - Alert), vice president of marketing at Mobidia.

All in all, mobile performance during the first big weekend of the holiday shopping season showed “increases in users of mobile shopping apps, increases in the number of minutes they used these apps, and increases in the number of unique views of these apps,” Hill affirmed.

For those that did not take part in this year’s Black Friday, which was a great day for in-store sales, or in Cyber Monday, a day for online sales, then, the day after Christmas promises to be your next option. In fact, post-Christmas sales begin, generally, with retailers marking down prices by as much as 75 percent. It is safe to believe that, once again, the use of shopping apps will spike on that day.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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