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Adobe Digital Index/ Market Research

Mobile Drives Thanksgiving, Black Friday Shopping To New Records


Article Highlights:

  • The increase in Thanksgiving online sales surpassed last year, breaking the billion-dollar mark at $1.06 billion.
  • Online shopping peaked between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET on Black Friday.
  • Category winners for the two-day period were toys, sporting goods, and jewelry.

The real-time Adobe Digital Index results are in: Online shopping trends indicate that consumers took full advantage of their mobile devices to shop on Thanksgiving Day and “omnishop” while in stores on Black Friday.

In an attempt to play every angle possible, retailers poured money into new mobile capabilities this year by adding WiFi to key stores, expanding mobile application offerings, and optimizing Web sites for easier transactions from small screens. These investments in mobile paid off, driving customers to use their smartphones and tablets more this year. Over the two shopping days of Nov. 28 and 29, nearly one out of every four online sales dollars (24%) occurred on one of those mobile devices. This resulted in a 118% increase in sales year-over-year (YOY) coming via these devices.

The data also shows that shoppers overwhelmingly preferred the iPad as their shopping companion device, representing nearly half a billion dollars ($417 million) in sales during these past two days, followed by the iPhone and Android phones at $126 million and $106 million, respectively.

Dual Billion-Dollar Days
Adobe Digital Index measured dual online sales records for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which saw 400 million visits during the two-day period. The increase in Thanksgiving online sales surpassed last year, breaking the billion-dollar mark at $1.06 billion, with actual spending up 18%. No laggard, Black Friday reached a record of its own, with actual spending jumping to nearly $2 billion ($1.93 billion)—up more than 30% YOY.

Last year, sales started picking up online at 9 a.m. ET on Black Friday. This year things began ramping up three hours earlier as a result of increased in-store mobile shopping and new strategies that staged releases of “door-buster” promotions throughout the day. With in-store shopping happening early in the day on Thanksgiving, consumers appeared to head home sooner and continue shopping online. Online shopping peaked between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET on Black Friday, when retailers pulled in $150 million in a single hour.

(Click on chart to view larger version.)

Storms In Northeast Move Shoppers Online
Bad weather in the Northeast drove many shoppers online on Black Friday, as the majority of the states with the highest year-over-year growth in revenue per visitor were in the storm zone. Other top states, such as Wyoming, are predominantly rural, so online shopping is the only method of accessing door-busting deals. Here’s where most of the action was:

  1. Vermont
  2. Wyoming
  3. South Dakota
  4. North Dakota
  5. Alaska
  6. Montana
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Delaware
  9. Maine
  10. New Mexico

Brick-And-Click Wins Big
Traditional brick-and-click retailers are outselling their online-only competitors so far this year at nearly a 3-to-1 ratio. Average basket sizes remained largely unchanged versus last year, at $139 per completed sale.

Category winners for the two-day period were toys, sporting goods, and jewelry, with an average increase in sales of 680% over a typical sales day.

Shopping Chatter Overshadows Holiday In Social Networks
Products, companies, and events that generated strong social media conversation on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were Sony PlayStation 4, Amazon, iPad, and the National Football League (NFL). With more than 300,000 mentions, PlayStation 4 drove close to three times more social media traffic on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs (including WordPress and Blogger), YouTube, and Reddit than did Microsoft’s Xbox One.

Amazon was the most mentioned retailer, with close to 450,000 posts; Walmart was a close second. The NFL garnered almost twice as much social media buzz as Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving Day. Thoughts of shopping overshadowed the holiday itself, as social conversation containing the term “Black Friday” received more mentions than Thanksgiving Day.

We continue to call for Cyber Monday to be the largest single online shopping day in the history of the Internet, with an increase of 15% YOY and sales of $2.27 billion.

Stay tuned late Monday evening for an in-depth look at what really happens based on ADI stats.

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