If you went shopping in-store on Black Friday and felt like the line-ups were a little shorter than last year, you were spot on. In-store sales on Black Friday dropped over $1 billion. Meanwhile, online sales leaped 14%. Clearly, shifting behaviour is changing how consumers engage with Black Friday promotions.
When diving into the data a little deeper, the key takeaway is that omnichannel brands with physical and online stores did extremely well over the weekend. There were other interesting highlights as well:
- Mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic: According to statistics by ChannelAdvisor, the majority of overall traffic came from mobile (66%). Interestingly, traffic from tablets declined from 2014 while smartphone shopping increased enough to create a net gain.
- Conversions on mobile devices increased but are still lower than desktop: Despite their dominance in traffic, mobile devices only drove around 37% to 40% of overall digital sales. This is consistent with the behaviour of today’s omnichannel consumer, that does product research from the convenience of their mobile devices but doesn’t necessarily complete the sale through that channel. In addition to lower conversions, purchases completed on a mobile device also had a lower average order value than desktop consumers.
- How did shoppers find discounts?: With all the available promotions and discounts on Black Friday it’s nearly impossible for one person to search them all, and so shoppers turn to review and help sites like RetailMeNot. Review and shopper helper sites took 34% share of online sales, with search ads (27%) and direct sales (21%) close behind.
One of the most persistent trends in from Black Friday and the Cyber Weekend is that consumers have broken the routine of lining up on Friday and shopping online on Monday. It appears that shoppers are getting tired of the long line ups and slow page loading times and are spreading out their holiday shopping to their convenience.
Fernando Madeira, president and CEO of Walmart.com agrees that shoppers have broken the mold and ensured that Cyber Monday promotions started on Sunday evening and continued through ‘Cyber Week’.
Looking at the year-over-year change we can see that spending on Thanksgiving grew almost 20% compared to last year and spending on Black Friday grew about 12%. Data from IBM shows that the Saturday and Sunday in between the two iconic holidays were 25.5% higher this year than in 2014. Adobe found that Cyber Monday spending grew 14% from last year, which was less than they predicted but still generous growth none the less. What all these figures indicates is that while shopping has been spread out over a longer period, there was still overall growth between this and last year.
But retailers could be doing better. Much better. According to a recent study, retailers are missing out on 36% of online sales as a result of checkout friction. Perhaps mobile conversions would be higher if more retailers had a mobile friendly payment option.
The biggest takeaway from Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the importance of the online shopping experience. Be it on a mobile or desktop, customers are more and more often opting to shop online. The retailers that have responded to the change by providing customers with convenient and streamlined online checkout are enjoying huge gains in revenue while the competition catches up.