Black Friday Outcome: Not Such a Surprise After All

December 8, 2015 Nicole Labo

The holidays are my favorite time of year.  The second Halloween ends, I’m already thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas plans.  This Thanksgiving I started my day off with a turkey trot, and then spent the remainder of my day surrounded by family and a lot of turkey!  But what I noticed this year that was different from years past, was how I thought about Shopping. It was entirely too easy to pick up my mobile phone anytime and shop Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals. I think my attitude and shopping behavior mirrored many consumers this year.

Adobe was very quick to release Black Friday data, and after reading through some of their findings, it confirms what I already knew: consumers are spending more time on mobile and choosing to use their phones to fulfill their shopping needs.  Below are a few notable data points from recent reports:

  • Online sales for Thanksgiving rose 26 percent, compared with the same day in 2014
  • $1.73 billion spent on Thanksgiving Day, 25 percent increase YOY
  • $2.72 billion spent on Black Friday, 14 percent more than in 2014
  • Mobile traffic reached nearly 60% of all online traffic, an increase of 14.8 percent from 2014
  • Emails drove the most online sales on Black Friday and accounted for 25.1 percent of all online orders this year

For some retailers, the pressure to capitalize on the influx of visitors to their mobile site proved to be a positive, yet not all retailers rose to the challenge.  Brands like Target and Neiman Marcus experienced difficulties online and were unable to support their shoppers consistently this Black Friday.  Fortunately, not all brands dropped the ball.

After taking a look at internal stats, I see that most of our sites experienced between a 150 and 200 percent increase in visitors, also delivering a significant lift in conversion on mobile, especially for brands like Liz Earle (UK) and Surfstitch (AUS).  I also noticed a longer holiday shopping period. Retailers are capitalizing on the ability to increase sales by offering deals days ahead of Black Friday. Jewelry and accessory retailer, Charming Charlie, experienced almost 300 percent increase in transactions starting during peak hours on Tuesday. 

Another interesting thing I noticed while shopping this year was the idea of email, particularly the correlation between receiving emails and shopping.  I found myself opening more email promotions than last year, and I’m not alone. According to a study by Accenture, the majority of consumers (56 percent) preferred discounts be sent pro-actively to them, and email open rates spike higher if they are sent before the major shopping days. With consumers anticipating the shopping season and deals, retailers can extend the shopping season by sending more emails, earlier.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday may be past, but the holidays are not over yet. There are still a few weeks to go before Christmas, which leaves plenty of time to see more mobile numbers and shopping trends surface. Let the countdown begin!   

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Industry Bites | December 2015
Industry Bites | December 2015

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