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Turkey Day Big for Mobile Shoppers

21 Nov, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The picture of the American consumer shopping during the holidays is getting clearer. Everyone knows brick-and-mortar stores have Black Friday and online shops have Cyber Monday. Welcome to Mobile Thursday – the new shopping day for mobile users.

IBM and Coremetrics revealed that last year, 15 percent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site on Thanksgiving Day, up from 6.5 percent the prior year. And data from Digitas says mobile shoppers on Thanksgiving will nearly double to 28 percent this year. That trend is even more pronounced among young people, with 38 percent of students planning to shop on smartphones or tablets following turkey.

MediaPost says eBay plans to capitalize on the growing appetite for mobile shopping on Thanksgiving by posting 20 mobile-only deals on its eBay app at exactly 5:23 p.m. EST on Nov. 22. A recent survey showed that this was the time that most people, on average, would end their meals. (It will launch another 20 at 5:23 p.m. PST for West Coast shoppers.)

As for Cyber Monday, sales are expected to rise 18 percent to $2 billion this year in the U.S. and Europe, with mobile playing a growing role in holiday buying, according to an Adobe Systems forecast. The projections are based on the software giant’s analysis of 150 billion visits to more than 500 retail sites during the past six years.

Bricks-and-clicks retailers are expected to see the biggest sales spike on Cyber Monday, with business expected to be up 450 percent more than on an average day, while online-only retailers will see a 200-percent gain, according to Adobe’s Digital Index 2012 Online Shopping Forecast.

It also predicts Black Friday will be the second-biggest online retail day this year, with sales growing 12 percent from 2011. Consumer Reports last week suggested that tablets and E-books could sell out early on Black Friday, driven by promotions at stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy for devices such as the iPad 2, Nook Color and Kindle Fire.

Adobe predicts purchases via mobile devices will account for 20 percent of total online sales this holiday season, more than double the proportion last year. Tablets will account for 13.5 percent of E-commerce sales, while smartphones will drive 6.5 percent.

Social media will play a part, too, driving double the traffic to retail sites as last year. Visual bulletin-board Pinterest will see the biggest jump as a referral source, doubling from 7 percent to 14 percent of traffic to retail sites.

Despite widespread discounts around Thanksgiving, Adobe predicts the most competitive prices will actually be found online the week before Christmas, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The largest price reductions are expected to come on Free Shipping Day (Dec. 17), when many retailers offer free shipping to boost sales.

Adobe projects online sales that day will be up 12 percent from a year ago, especially since it falls on a Monday this year. Monday is typically the busiest online shopping day of the week. Adobe created its holiday index in part to promote its analytics services around big data.

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