As Flurry from Yahoo reported last year, the proliferation of shopping apps on our mobile devices means every day can be Black Friday. Consumers with a mall in their pockets at all times don’t need to wait for the store to open. In fact, the recent IBM report noted that for the first time in 2015, mobile Black Friday retail traffic surpassed that of desktop at nearly 60% of total. Sales on Cyber Monday beat expectations, according to Adobe, coming in at over $3 billion for the day; 16% more than last year.
These are astounding growth figures for what is surely the world’s most mature consumer market. But what this data misses is the bridge that mobile apps have built between in-store and online commerce during the holiday shopping season.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Bridge Too Far?
To kick it off, we examined the session activity around Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared to the activity of the prior week. In 2015, week-over-week session growth on the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day was down compared to prior years; implying that the jump on mobile holiday shopping wasn’t as strong as previous years. Black Friday saw a similar spike in mobile app activity from the last two years with a 24% increase. This is in line with the data from Adobe and IBM, which noted a 30% increase in mobile Black Friday sales in 2015.
For comparison, week-over-week app activity over the last 30 days is typically around -1% to 1%.
And on the Seventh Day, They Compared Prices
On Saturday and Sunday Americans rested and window shopped, all in preparation for Cyber Monday. Shopping app activity spiked this year the Monday after Thanksgiving with a 16% increase in sessions. This increase was nearly 2x the increase in 2014. What’s more, the 4% spike in activity this year suggests consumers are adapting to the “Cyber Week” promoted by retailers. If Black Friday is the biggest day for brick and mortar stores and Cyber Monday is the online equivalent, the weekend in between seems to belong to apps.
Cyber Monday started a decade ago, after Americans returned to their office Internet connection, focused on buying all the items they saw in stores over the Holiday weekend. What we’re seeing in the smartphone era is the holiday shopping season is starting earlier, and extending later. Commerce is finally in our pockets, and peak shopping days are blurring into every day.