Mobile shoppers are moving from “just looking” to “buying,” with consumers using their smartphones more than ever to transact purchases this holiday season. That’s the key finding of the new Adobe Digital Index (ADI) “2014 Holiday Shopping Predictions” report (PDF).
Last year, showrooming was mobile’s major function during the holidays. This year, while consumers will continue to use their mobile devices to compare prices and product features while in stores, they will also increasingly use their phones to buy.
ADI forecasts that, in total, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are expected to tally $1.6 billion in mobile sales alone.
ADI’s findings clearly indicate that mobile can no longer sit on the side as a separate marketing strategy, explained Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI. According to Gaffney, everything a marketer does must now have a mobile component, and holiday marketing is no exception.
ADI also predicts that Thanksgiving will surpass Black Friday as the most mobile shopping day of the year. Mobile will account for 31% of total online sales Thanksgiving Day, hitting $418 million. That’s an 88% increase from last year.
Additionally, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to see 26% ($644 million) and 20% ($520 million) of online sales coming from mobile, respectively.
“On Thanksgiving, shoppers will turn to their phones while visiting family and friends, watching the game, and waiting in-line at stores,” said Tyler White, an analyst at ADI.
Online Sales Growth
According to ADI, Black Friday is becoming the fastest-growing online sales day of the year, more so than Cyber Monday. But, even though ADI predicts that Black Friday online sales will increase the most (28%), actual sales, at $2.48 billion, will be less than on Cyber Monday (up 15% YoY), at $2.60 billion. Furthermore, online sales for Thanksgiving are expected to hit $1.35 billion, a new record, representing 27% growth YoY.
“Online shopping will spike during the evenings on Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, but on Black Friday shopping will peak during the middle of the day,” White said.
Gotta Love A Deal
ADI predicts that, with just 28 days this holiday season—one more day than last year, and five fewer days than 2012—retailers are going to try to lengthen the shopping period by targeting consumers with great deals on the Monday before Thanksgiving. ADI predicts that both the Monday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day itself will be the best days to shop online, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The reason is simple, White explained.
“In the United States, especially, consumers have been conditioned to wait for Black Friday deals before they start holiday shopping,” White said. “This holiday shopping season will be just one day longer than last year, the shortest shopping season since 2002. Retailers will concentrate on lengthening the season, beginning it on the Monday before Thanksgiving by offering deals then.”
Product availability will also be highest between that Monday and Thanksgiving, ADI predicts. Prices will hit rock bottom on Thanksgiving Day, with the average item discounted 24%. However, increased demand on Thanksgiving Day will make it much harder to find hot items. ADI also predicts price hikes on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday.
Product Social Buzz
ADI expects the iPhone 6+ to be on everyone’s list this year. Apple’s new smartphone is leading in social buzz for top electronic products. For gamers, PS4 is beating Xbox One in early social buzz. And for the fitness junky, Fitbits are on everyone’s mind, with the most social buzz of all wearable devices.
What’s more, social buzz analysis found that Californians love Amazon, while New Yorkers are loyal to eBay. Consumers in both states also love Target.
“This year, retailers should monitor social buzz around specific hot items to guide them on which products to stock up on,” Gaffney said. “Last year, there was so much more online shopping than retailers were prepared for and, because of that, we saw news stories about people ordering stuff online and not getting it in time. A lot of that was because retailers did not have the products in stock anymore, but I’d bet that retailers have prepared this year, and things should go more smoothly.”
For more ADI holiday analysis around the world, read: “Holiday Shopping In Europe Gets Mobile, With UK, Ireland Most Advanced.”
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