The results are in from America’s biggest shopping weekend of the year and the numbers are bigger than ever! According to Adobe, who predicted that Americans would spend $5 Billion this year on Black Friday, they actually surpassed that number in online retail sales reaching $5.03 Billion – up 16,9% over last year. This comes after the record $2.87 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving. Adobe analyses 80 percent of online transactions for the 100 largest web retailers in the country to come up with these stats.
Mobile Traffic Dominates Black Friday
This year, according to Salesforce 60% of traffic to retail sites came from a mobile phone device. This tells us that consumers are not just browsing on phones, as 42% of Black Friday orders were placed from a mobile phone. 2017 represents a huge shift to mobile and the first Black Friday where computers accounted for less than half – 49% – of all orders.
According to Adobe’s Revenue tracking index, on Black Friday, 54.3% of retail website visits and 36.9% of revenue came from mobile, with conversion rates for tablets up 13% year over year, and smartphones up 16.5% year over year.
With consistent mobile retail traffic and revenue since the beginning of the month, it’s time for all marketers to consider running mobile only programmatic campaigns. Because consumers have access to reviews, ratings, and suggestions at the tap of a button,mobile-driven micro-moments are grabbing the huge majority of consumer attention. It’s important to get in front of that consumer at the right time with the right ad, on their device of choice, and create a fluid and intuitive buying experiences – all the way from the awareness stage to the point of purchase.
Mobile is also transforming the in-store experience for customers. In-store shoppers search for information online while in-store. For the most part, they’re using search engines but consumers also head to the retailer’s own site or app. This presents a powerful opportunity for retailers to connect with shoppers, whether by sending them a special coupon or thanking them for coming into the store —mostly using the opportunity to prevent them from turning to the competition.
Mobile devices are now driving a boost in Thanksgiving weekend e-Commerce with more conversions now happening on phone. People use their phones to to preview products and prices; retailers like Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ Us encourage shoppers to test the product in-store but skip the huge holiday lines and crowds by buying from their web site. It is bringing us one step closer to frictionless commerce.
Shoppers now research products on their mobile devices even earlier, with some of the largest “converted cart sizes” occurring weeks before Black Friday. Thanksgiving Day has grown into an e-Commerce holiday as some retailers are making a statement – inspired by negative consumer sentiment about stores being open on the Holiday – by being closed to allow their own staff to celebrate the day with their families. This has pushed a higher volume of shoppers online also creating a big spike in shopper activity after 4 pm on Thanksgiving, just after the average eating hours. With these statistics in hand, digital media buyers can plan their programmatic campaigns using specific time of day targeting for their mobile campaigns, and also creating mobile specific messaging and creative for the “window shoppers” who start shopping on their commutes to and from work much before the actual Holiday.
eMarketer is predicting that digital holiday sales will increase a record 11.5 percent this year, compared to a 17-percent increase in 2016.What’s more, large traditional retailers like Walmart are trying to boost e-Commerce sales in order to compete with Amazon, possibly pushing more shoppers online. eMarketer also predicts that an additional driver of “e-Commerce will be the continued growth of m-Commerce sales — particularly smartphone commerce, which will rise by an estimated 57.8% in 2017 overall.”
Knowing the trend in video investment and consumption, it’s important for programmatic media buyers and marketing teams to implement platform pixels with their social and paid media buys and begin building audiences way ahead of the holidays, which can then inform the remainder of a Holiday media buying strategy. Another tactic to consider is extending campaign durations to start way before the Holiday period. More than half of users who clicked on Cyber Weekend sales ads usually had a first touch prior to Thanksgiving, so it’s important to ensure that retargeting efforts during the 2017 Holiday Season are reaching users who may have clicked far in advance of the actual Holiday promotions.
Social Media Will Have a Big Impact on Gift Buying
Social media will have a real impact on what people buy for their loved ones this year. One-third of all Americans will be influenced by social this year, and 30 percent of people surveyed by Sprout Social said that they planned to post about gifts they received on social media. In addition to people posting about their presents on social, Sprout Social also predicts that the average retailer will receive more than 3,000 social messages during this holiday season–approximately 30 percent more than last year. According to the report, 56 percent of the messages retailers receive in 2017 will require retailers to take action, a 15 percent increase compared to the 2016 holiday season. Regardless of the increased customer service type postings through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, response times and rates on social remain stubbornly low. Brands and retailers should consider investing more heavily in resources for social customer-service efforts to keep more happy users and spenders on their site.
NRF research data tells us that more than 50% of holiday shoppers start researching gift ideas in October or earlier, so when planning your media spend for Black Friday and Cyber Monday it’s important to plan ahead and start early. Some retailers start leaking their Black Friday promotions in October! The big spike in Black Friday ads that consumers usually keep their eyes on starts at the beginning of November. Last year retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, and Target all leaked their promotions on November 9th. Knowing when consumers are going to begin their search for Black Friday deals is key for making smart decisions about when and where to target media spend.
Knowing the peaks and valleys of last year’s retail calendar and traffic is key in creating the right media plan for the 2017 holiday season. With more Americans spending time browsing for retail items on their phones it is also important to factor in mobile creative and spend into a media plan; as most people will shop around on their devices, and either make a purchase, or move to their laptops and desktops to checkout.
To find out more about when and where we predict people will be shopping this 2017 Holiday season download Digilant’s Holiday and Consumer Shopping Report.
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