IBM has reported record online and mobile shopping during Thanksgiving and Black Friday based on consumer transactions analyzed in real-time by the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. The data-driven insight gives retailers and marketers more than 370 performance indicators to benchmark themselves against industry peers to drive more targeted customer engagements.
For the first time, online traffic from mobile devices outpaced traditional PCs on Thanksgiving Day. As IBM predicted within one percent of accuracy, Thanksgiving Day reached a new mobile tipping point with smartphones and tablets accounting for 52.1% of all online traffic. Overall Thanksgiving online sales were up 14.3% compared to 2013.
The mobile momentum moved into Black Friday, which saw a surge in both online and mobile shopping as consumers brought their devices into the store to comparison shop. Overall Black Friday online sales were up 9.5% year-over-year with mobile devices accounting for one-in-four of all online purchases. New York City also retained its title as the top U.S. city for Black Friday online shopping.
“Mobile has become the new Thanksgiving tradition as consumers find the best deals with their fingers as well as their feet,” said Jay Henderson, Director, IBM Smarter Commerce. “We saw retailers harness the power of data to engage shoppers in new ways, identifying the unique preferences of their customers while quickly capitalizing on new online, mobile or in-store trends as they emerged.”
The company released the following trends as of 12 a.m. PST Nov. 29, at the official close of the two-day shopping period:
Historic Mobile Milestone Spurs Online Shopping
Thanksgiving Day mobile traffic accounted for 52.1% of all online traffic – the first time mobile devices have outpaced their PC counterparts for online browsing. Black Friday mobile traffic reached 49.6% of all online traffic, an increase of 25% over last year. Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9% of total online sales, up 28.2% over 2013.
Thanksgiving Eats Into Black Friday Sales
Thanksgiving Day online sales increased 14.3% over 2013, with Black Friday up 9.5% year-over-year. Average order value on Thanksgiving was $125.25, down 1.8% over 2013; Black Friday was $129.37, down 4.4%. This trend may indicate that shoppers are becoming more comfortable and digitally savvy in how they use online coupons and rebates to secure the best bargains. Black Friday online sales were 63.5% higher than Thanksgiving Day. This is a decrease from 2013, however, when it was 70% higher as Thanksgiving online sales continue to eat into Black Friday shopping.
Top Five U.S. Cities for Online Shopping
New York City claimed the top spot for Black Friday online shopping followed by Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL. New York City shoppers spent on average $121.91 per order on Black Friday.
Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy
As the new digital shopping companion for many consumers, smartphones drove 34.7% of all Black Friday online traffic, more than double that of tablets, which accounted for 14.6% of all traffic. Yet, when it comes to mobile sales, tablets continue to win the shopping war – driving 16% of online sales compared to 11.8% for smartphones, a difference of 35.5%. Tablet users also averaged $126.50 per order compared to $107.55 for smartphone users, a difference of 17.6%.
iOS vs. Android
iOS once again led the way in mobile shopping this holiday season, outpacing Android across three key metrics on Black Friday:
- Average Order Value: iOS users averaged $121.86 per order compared to $98.07 for Android users, a difference 24.3%.
- Online Traffic: iOS traffic accounted for 34.2% of total online traffic, more than double that of Android, which drove 15% of all online traffic.
- Online Sales: iOS sales accounted for 21.9% of total online sales, nearly quadruple that of Android, which drove 5.8% of all online sales.
The Desktop is Not Dead
When consumers did choose to use their PC or desktop, they spent more with an average order value of $135.33 compared to $116.02 for mobile shoppers, a difference of 16.6%.
Social Influence – Facebook vs. Pinterest
As marketers continue to rely on social channels to drive brand loyalty and sales, IBM analyzed trends across two leading sites on Black Friday – Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook referrals drove an average of $109.94 per order compared to $100.24 for Pinterest, a difference of nearly 10%. Facebook referrals converted online sales at more than twice the rate of Pinterest.
Less Frequent, More Targeted Email Promos
According to Silverpop-specific data not included in the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report, retailers sent an average of 5.3 emails on Black Friday 2014, decreasing more than 11% over the same period in 2013, as retail marketers continue to send more targeted — and less frequent — messages to shoppers. Open and click-through rates – when someone opens an email and clicks at least one link – were 12.9% and 2.4%, on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day, compared to 15.4% and 2.8% respectively, last year.
The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark also reported real-time trends across four of the hottest retail categories this holiday season:
Department Stores: Black Friday online sales grew by 22.9% over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 25.7%. Average order value was $143.16, a decrease of 2.5% year-over-year.
Health and Beauty: Black Friday online sales grew by 56.9% over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 31.8%. Average order value was $72.78, an increase of 9.8% year-over-year.
Home Goods: Black Friday online sales grew by 43.2% over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 3.8%. Average order value was $238.46, an increase of 6.8% year-over-year.
Apparel: Black Friday online sales grew by 22.6% over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 25.2%. Average order value was $114.96, a decrease of 6.8% year-over-year.