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Mobile Takes Holiday Shopping to New Levels

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

December 02, 2014

Mobile Takes Holiday Shopping to New Levels

By Stefania Viscusi
Assignment Desk Editor

Now that most of us have cleared our fridges of leftover turkey and pumpkin pie and are starting to focus on the quickly approaching holidays, it’s as good a time as any to take a look back at just how important mobile devices were during the Thanksgiving and Cyber week shopping extravaganza.

Numerous predictions prior to the holiday shopping season pointed at the importance mobile devices and mobile commerce would play this year. Now that the numbers are in, it seems that was an accurate estimate.

According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, the time period between Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday (News - Alert) saw an increase in mobile sales by 27.2 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Of those mobile users shopping and making purchases with their devices, iOS users lead the pack with traffic was more than double and sales almost quadruple that of Android (News - Alert) devices.

"For the first time mobile devices drove more than half of Thanksgiving online traffic, a trend that continued throughout Cyber Week," said Jay Henderson (News - Alert), Director, IBM Smarter Commerce.  "As the holiday shopping season becomes less concentrated on a single day, retailers and marketers took advantage by making it easier for consumers to find the best deals on the go, whenever and wherever they chose to shop." 

Braving the cold and the crowds for Black Friday (News - Alert) shopping has become a tradition for my fiancés family – and so we always tag along for bonding time. But since I was up early to put the 20lb turkey into the oven this year, I laid in bed and hopped on social media where so many were  already posting and sharing the deals they we’re finding online in the A.M. Many of the sales people were concerned they would have to leave their dinner table to get – were just a click away. And just like that I found myself in bed, on my mobile device easily adding discounted items to my cart and paying for them through the easy tap of buttons on the screen. No waiting in line, no wondering if it would still be on the shelf – and no rushing through my dinner plate.

This experience possibly mirrors that of many others this holiday shopping season who are finding that using your mobile device has become more than just a way to keep in touch while on the go. Instead, the devices are – as with so many other areas in life – offering a bigger benefit including being able to read reviews, comparison shop and make better buying decisions.

Even after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Cyber Monday had record online shopping sales – up 8.5 percent from last year.  And the IBM study found that mobile traffic actually reached 22 percent of the total Cyber Monday online sales. The five-day “Cyber Week” stretch of bargain shopping included a 12.6 percent increase in online sales. And it seems many retailers are still out for more extended sales into today – and some throughout the week in a bid to capture more consumer spending.

Just as I learned about all of the great deals Thanksgiving morning by hopping onto my social media feeds, IBM’s analysis found that social influence played a key role this year to help drive brand loyalty and sales.  Based on their analysis of trends across Facebook (News - Alert) and Pinterest, referrals helped to drive around $97.78 per order from Pinterest and $123.44 from Facebook.

Understanding the evolution in the way people  are shopping today and what is influencing how they spend money is important for marketers not only during holiday shopping season but also as they plan to succeed into 2015. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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