Holiday Shopping Gets Strong Mobile Boost, Data Shows

Retailers this week were assessing the success of the application of their analytics strategies to win greater share of customer holiday shopping dollars, and according to the early returns, it looks to be a good season.

Adobe Digital Insights reported that online shopping data for Black Friday through the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend hit a record of $9.36 billion spent online, a 16% increase year-over-year. Then, Cyber Monday sales hit an all-time high of $3.39 billion, a 10% increase over the day in 2015.

(Image: geralt/iStockphoto)

(Image: geralt/iStockphoto)

While sales were strong, a bigger underlying trend may be a greater reliance by consumers on their mobile devices to help them navigate between physical stores and online deals.

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Google noted in a blog post that Black Friday had the highest mobile shopping searches of any day during Thanksgiving week this year. Shoppers in the US used their mobile devices to find the best deals both online and in physical stores. Google reports that Rhode Island and Delaware showed the most local shopping search interest with the most searches that contained "near me" hours, and stores, of any other states in the nation.

A survey by Astound Commerce of more than 1,000 frequent online shoppers revealed that 36% said they planned to do more ordering from their mobile devices this year.

But that doesn't mean that physical stores are suffering.  Google said that store foot traffic climbed 65% on black Friday compared to an average weekend day in November, showing that shoppers still care about going to physical stores. In particular, clothing, toy, and electronics stores were all popular destinations.

Adobe reported that the five best-selling toys in terms of quantity sold on Cyber Monday were Lego sets, Shopkins, Nerf, Barbie, and Little Live Pets. The five best-selling electronic products were Sony Playstation 4, Microsoft Xbox, Samsung 4K TVs, Apple iPads, and Amazon Fire. Adobe's report is based on aggregated and anonymous data from 23 billion visits to retail websites.

Who is reaping the most rewards from online sales? Internet Retailer estimates that Amazon did $4.7 billion in sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. And Astound Commerce's survey showed that 43% of shoppers said they would buy more than half of their holiday purchases on Amazon.

For retailers looking for a competitive edge against Amazon, Astound Commerce had some additional insights. The firm asked consumers what other retailers have done to prompt them to purchase from them instead of Amazon. A full 65% of consumers cited better prices, 46% said special offers or better promotions, 29% said on par or faster delivery times, 23% said easier access to store inventory, and 22% said exclusive or unique products.

There are still a few weeks to go until the final sales are in for the 2016 holiday shopping season, but these early returns show we could be set for a strong finish.


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Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

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Re: Comparison shopping
  • 12/22/2016 5:03:05 AM

I think that's well and good. A brand that's well-differentiated really shouldn't compete on price because it's one of marketing's slippery slopes. Amazon has been successful in gaining customers' preference for many reasons other than price, so it should leave the price wars to retailers who are desperate for it.

Re: Comparison shopping
  • 12/19/2016 10:22:22 PM

I have been seeing comments over the last year that Amazon is no longer the best price place to go anymore. Sure, it's super convenient and easy to use, and the Amazon Prime locks in a lot of folks to shop there pretty much exclusively. But, there still lots of folks who will continue the comparison shopping and head other directions including in store buying.

Re: Comparison shopping
  • 12/5/2016 5:34:11 PM


In all the hoopla over online shopping and mobile devices, let's not forget that chunk of the online shopping population (like me) who shop online from their PCs at home (or maybe at work).

A lot of online shopping, comparison or otherwise, requires the consumer to ORDER the item online for later pickup at the store (or of course, alternatively, to receive it by delivery service). Even if you're in the store, the price advertised online is often linked to that procedure. You may persuade the store to match a lower price elsewhere, but they may require you to return to the store later to pick it up.

We've encountered some hitches in online shopping with store pickup, mainly involving holiday-season inventory snafus. Kinda surprising in today's big data/high analytics environment ...


Re: Comparison shopping
  • 12/5/2016 4:11:19 PM

Amazon is competing less on price.

This makes it easier for the brick and mortar stores to offer price matches that include Amazon. 

If you can price search in 2 seconds, and the store you're standing in will match price; then the sale becomes about all the other things - how close is the store to my home? how quickly can I get in the store and out with my item? what is the return policy?

Comparison shopping
  • 12/5/2016 8:27:37 AM

It seems like the key feature here is the ability to contact physical stores near you when your brick and mortar shopping isn't going as planned. I remember stories from a year ago that showed long lines outside of a retail store but five miles away at the same retailer there were only a handful of people inside shopping.  The mobile apps do sound nice if you're one of those shopping warriors but with things like Amazon Prime and retailers dropping shipping during the holidays I think we'll continue to see online sales rise.