Thanksgiving Becomes the 3rd Biggest U.S. Ecommerce Shopping Day

turkey-with-tabletDespite a backlash against Thanksgiving Day sales events in brick and mortar stores, U.S. consumers have made it their third biggest ecommerce shopping day of the year, digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb has revealed in its latest report.

SimilarWeb’s new report, “America’s Online Shopping Frenzy,” reveals that Thanksgiving Day attracted 243 million combined mobile and desktop visits last year to leading online stores, making it the third biggest single shopping day for online retail traffic in the U.S.

The shopping day was only beaten by Black Friday, which saw 274 million visits across leading websites in the U.S., and Cyber Monday, which saw 261 million visits last year.

The analysis, based on an index representing 47% of the leading U.S. retailers, revealed the biggest Thanksgiving winner last year was Gap. Hosting all their brands (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta) on a single website, the clothing company saw a 151% one-day jump (from the previous day) in desktop traffic and 128% increase in mobile visits. Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy boosted its Thanksgiving traffic by 118% on mobile and a 100% one-day rise in desktop visits.

Retailers seeking to maintain the Thanksgiving tradition this year by closing their brick-and-mortar stores may still reap the benefits from shoppers’ online appetites. Last year Nordstrom saw a one-day rise in online Thanksgiving mobile traffic of 51%, Costco 36%, and Home Depot 30%.

“In a relatively short space of time, the festive shopping habits of American consumers have changed beyond recognition,” said Joel Zand, Digital Insights Manager at SimilarWeb. “While Thanksgiving has been an American tradition for centuries, today U.S. consumers are as likely to be shopping online as they are enjoying turkey and football with family and friends.”

Combined with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Zand said this short window now accounts for the biggest online retail peaks of the year.

Black Friday: Retailers’ Golden Shopping Day

The clear winner in the new shopping order, Black Friday, secured its place as the leading shopping holiday in the U.S. The day after Thanksgiving has emerged as the favorite time to grab online bargains, with Nike leading with a 76% mobile traffic increase last year. Shoe retailer Zappos saw a 72% Black Friday rise and home décor company, Wayfair, recorded a 64% boost for mobile Web traffic.

Winding down the holiday weekend, Web-centric Cyber Monday saw Amazon and eBay dominate — receiving a 51% share of mobile and desktop traffic, with nearly 100 million and 35 million visits respectively. The other big winner was consumer electronics retailer Newegg, registering a 103% rise in mobile Web traffic on Cyber Monday.

The fourth and final online mega sales event in America  is Prime Day (July 15) providing a summer boost to the online retail calendar, and a one-day desktop increase of 45% and 63% on mobile for the company.  The day created by Amazon this year, instantly became a leading shopping holiday with 180 million combined desktop and mobile visits to leading U.S. retailers. While Amazon secured its highest number of Prime membership sign-ups, the biggest winners for desktop traffic increases were company rivals Walmart (61.9%) and Macy’s (58.4%).

Shift to smartphones and tablets for festive shopping

The shift in shopping to smartphones and tablets is also set to continue this festive shopping season – last year consumers used their smartphones and tablets 54% of the time they were browsing the top U.S. online retailers’ websites.

“Retailers appreciate that the majority of their customers are now browsing and buying over this period on their smartphones, creating the added challenge of offering a seamless service across all touch points on the busiest shopping dates of the year,” Zand said.

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