- The Search Agents - http://www.thesearchagents.com -

Thanksgiving Weekend Online Shopping Trends – Smartphones RULE

It already feels as though Cyber Monday is a household name, but it really only became a thing a few years ago. This new shopping “holiday” came into existence when online retailers began noticing dramatically increasing sales on the Monday after Black Friday. Wanting to keep the momentum going, retailers began offering discounts to further entice shoppers.

But WHY was there an influx in shopping the Monday after the biggest shopping day of the year. Well, although it seems like forever ago, there was a time when most people didn’t have high speed internet connections at home. Yep, this shift in shopping patterns [1] was a result of consumers taking advantage of internet access at work.

But now that everyone has a 4G connection right in their pockets, shopping has changed dramatically. The proliferation of Smartphone and Tablet devices [2] coupled with increased penetration of in-home broadband [3] is causing the emergence of new holiday shopping patterns.

This fact made The Search Agency curious, so we did a little investigative work:

In line with broader paid search trends [4], YoY analysis of the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday shows increased impression and click traffic from mobile devices driving up CTR’s. The analysis in this report was conducted using data from our retail clients campaign’s that were active during the 11/24/2012-11/28/2011 and 11/22/2012-11/26/2012 periods. Our YOY analysis of impression and click volume between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday reveals changes in daily impression volume but relatively stable trends in click volume.


Thanksgiving Day

Click and impression volume on Thanksgiving Day increased by 2.5 and 2.2 points respectively between 2011 and 2012.  Additionally, impressions from mobile devices more than tripled from 5.8% in 2011 to 18.1% in 2012. Mobile devices share of clicks doubled from 15.5% in 2011 to 31.1% in 2012.

Why the increase? There’s no rest for the relaxed on holidays anymore. Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices in their leisure and TV watching time [5], proving that Turkey Day is becoming an increasingly important day for online shopping. Thanksgiving Day had the highest portion of click and impression volume from mobile devices, as people continue to scout deals and shop from the comfort of their couches before, and after their Thanksgiving feast.



Black Friday

Interestingly, the segment of impression volume on Back Friday saw a steep decrease of 12.5 points from 36.1% in 2011 to 24.7% in 2012. However, while impressions decreased, clicks increased –  1.5 points and CTR increase 32% from 1.93% in 2011 to 2.55% in 2012.  These numbers aren’t really a surprise, they’re  in line with the emerging trends in shopping habits we’ve been discussing here.

According to Devicescape Software, a whopping 90.3% of consumers think shopping centers and retailers should provide free Wi-Fi connectivity. They use this internet connectivity to compare prices, comparison shop, read product reviews, and utilize online deals/coupons when they are shopping in a brick-and mortar-retailer.




Cyber Monday

You’d think that by the time Cyber Monday rolled around consumers would be shopped out, but the impression volume from mobile devices more than tripled from 3.8% in 2011 to 14.2% in 2012 while click share more than doubled from 8.6% in 2011 to 20.5% in 2012. Overall share of impressions increased by 4.6 points from 19.1% in 2011 to 23.7% 2012, while click volume stayed about the same. It’s clear that Cyber Monday has evolved away from desktop shopping at work and towards spending evenings in the comfort of their own home on their mobile device.





As consumers continue to integrate mobile devices into their lives 24/7, the story of how consumers shop over the most important 5 days of the holiday shopping season will evolve. Changes in click and impression patterns imply that consumers are likely spending more of their Thanksgiving Day either shopping or preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday by finding the best sales in advance from the comfort of their couch.

People in general have grown more comfortable using their mobile devices in-store so they can compare prices and products as well as find online deals,which has caused CTR’s to increase as savvier consumers become more knowledgeable about finding the best product at the best price.

The moral of this story? With the ease and comfort of shopping from home on a mobile device, retailers need to continue to entice shoppers out of their homes by enhancing their in-store shopping environment and improving the consumer experience on mobile devices.