December 9, 2016 | Business | by Alexian Chiavegato

Online and Offline, Mobile’s Impact on Thanksgiving Weekend Grows

Back in October we talked about the rapidly approaching holiday season, and what it meant for mobile’s increasing power in e-commerce. Black Friday, and the rest of Thanksgiving weekend, proved to be the retail extravaganza that it’s always been, and mobile played a large role in the results. Mobile’s share of the work this weekend not only increased online sales, it helped with in-store sales as well, and continued to prove just how mobile-dependent consumers are becoming.

Online sales in the United States were up 7.4 percent in the month of November, totaling $43.9 billion. Maybe even more amazing than that total is the fact that 29 out of 30 days in November saw online sales top $1 billion. Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday sales totaled $12.8 billion, a 15.2 percent increase over 2015 sales. Not only does online holiday shopping continue to grow, but mobile continues to become a bigger piece of the puzzle. Mobile accounted for 44 percent of website visits over the holiday weekend, and 31 percent of sales over the same period. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday those numbers were even higher, with 55 and 53 percent of visits and 36 and 35 percent of purchases, respectively, coming from mobile devices. Black Friday was also the first day that mobile sales have ever topped $1 billion.

There are several reasons for this increase in mobile shopping, according to Yory Wurmser of eMarketer. “Bigger screens, better mobile design and simpler payment options have all contributed to this explosion of sales via smartphones,” Wurmser says. He expects these trends to continue developing, with the familiarity of mobile devices increasing the time consumers spend shopping on phones. We continue to see consumers use their phones for tasks they used to do elsewhere, and shopping is high on that list of tasks. In fact, Amazon saw more mobile commerce activity on Thanksgiving Day this year than it did on both Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in 2015.

Interestingly, shopping on the phone itself was not the only benefit to retail stores during Thanksgiving weekend. While mobile did outpace in-store shopping for the second year in a row, digital influenced 56 percent of every dollar spent at brick-and-mortar stores. Mobile accounted for two-thirds of that amount, making a sizable contribution to the bottom line both online and offline. Location-based marketing and targeting options offer ways for stores to use mobile to influence sales at their retail locations. Retailers are starting to catch on, as reflected by a 56 percent increase in holiday push notifications this year. Of those notifications, 88 percent were targeted to specific groups. The targeted notifications reached engagement levels that were over three times higher than the messages that were broadcasted to a general, unspecified audience.

Over the holiday season, “Marfeelized” sites have been getting more attention with eCPMs doubling and traffic tripling over the holiday weekend! As mobile continues to grow across all verticals on the web, the importance of having a consumer-friendly, fast mobile site is crucial to making those ads effective.

As we all know the adage, time is money. And mobile speed will make the holidays a lot more profitable this year.