Mobile Moves Black Friday Sales Upward

Nov 28, 2011

Consumers went mobile on Black Friday, using devices to research and buy items, according to the IBM Coremetrics Benchmark Report Black Friday 2011. Among the study’s findings:

  • Mobile devices (including iPads and tablets as well as smartphone devices) accounted for 14.3 percent of all Black Friday online retail traffic, up from 5.6 percent in 2010. IBM saw this is an indication that consumers are increasingly using mobile devices as a research tool for in-store and online bargains;
  • The iPhone and iPad ranked one and two for consumers shopping on mobile devices. Android came in third;
  • Shoppers using the iPad led to more retail purchases more often per visit than other mobile devices, with conversion rates reaching 4.6 percent compared to 2.8 percent for overall mobile devices;
  • Mobile shoppers surpassed that of other online shoppers with a 41.3 percent bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping rates of 33.1 percent.

The survey also found that shoppers referred from social networks generated 0.53 percent of all online sales on Black Friday. Facebook led the pack, accounting for 75 percent of all traffic from social networks. With topics including out-of-stock concerns, waiting times and parking, and a spike in positive sentiment around Cyber-Monday sales, social networks also boasted a 110 percent increase in discussion volume over 2010.

Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation for the first time in its Black Friday Weekend survey conducted by BIGresearch asked how shoppers would use their smartphones and tablets over the weekend as well. More than one-quarter (25.7 percent) of Americans with tablet devices said they did or would purchase items with their devices, and 37.4 percent will or have researched products and compared prices with their tablets. Overall, more than half (57.1 percent) said they have or will use their tablet devices to shop for gifts this weekend.

The reports came as several local consumer news reports touted the capabilities of mobile apps that maximize Black Friday deal shopping and tablets were cited among this year’s top holiday sellers.

Discussion Questions: How do you see mobile transforming shopping behavior on Black Friday and beyond? Where do you see the greatest opportunities for retailers and brands to connect with mobile shoppers?

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6 Comments on "Mobile Moves Black Friday Sales Upward"

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Adrian Weidmann
10 years 5 months ago

The ubiquitous access to information brought about by the continuing transformation into a digital world, be it mobile or online, will continue to fundamentally change retail as we know it. It has been said that information is power and shoppers now have the power to compare prices in real time and search for the best offer. This will drive retailers to erode margins. This same access to information cuts both ways and retailers have a tremendous opportunity to establish meaningful, personalized and relevant dialog with their shoppers and customers if they choose. Shoppers still want to be surprised and delighted by ‘finding’ that unique ‘prize’. The retailer’s challenge will be to find this balance between relevant and personal dialog to enhance their brand while still offering that ‘bazaar’ experience.

Doug Stephens
Doug Stephens
10 years 5 months ago

Right now there are two keys…

Mobile search, where consumers are most often seeking out local results to act on immediately.

And mobile optimization, so that consumers can navigate essential information about a retailer from their site using a popular mobile device.

If you’re a retailer and you haven’t gotten your arms around these two ideas, forget about other things like location-based services, social proof and mobile payment — they’re not worth starting until you’ve got search settled.

Rick Moss
10 years 5 months ago

Perhaps it’s a minor point, but I wonder about lumping iPad retail purchases in with smartphones under the umbrella of “mobile devices.” Tablets are a hybrid: part laptop; part smartphone. I don’t see a huge difference between shopping on one’s couch with an iPad vs. a laptop, or doing the same on a train or plane. Yes, iPad users take advantage of apps but many use the web browser on their tablets to access basically the same ecommerce sites as they would on a laptop.

In any case, whatever cause and effect we look for in these results gets blurred a bit, depending on what “mobile devices” are being used by consumers.

Max Goldberg
10 years 5 months ago

Mobile has become mainstream, as more and more consumers own smart phones and tablets. These devices are just another means to gather information, compare prices and make purchases. Retailers would be wise to embrace the technology and compete on service and perks, rather than price.

Ronnie Perchik
Ronnie Perchik
10 years 5 months ago

Black Friday provides marketers with 24 hours of targeted shopper behavior market research, and in 2011, we saw the mobile trend continue.

Digital technology gives the power to the consumer, as do other nontraditional media like social media. Marketers need to recognize this new relationship by adjusting marketing strategy and tactics. They need to seek out the customer, connect, then communicate with them, and listen. They then should adjust brands where necessary.

It’s about improving the customer experience. Getting creative with Mobile apps, for instance, would be a smart way to help consumers shop more efficiently, while promoting a positive image for your brand as a byproduct.

This can all be tricky business, so it’s best to trust the experts and hire a partner resource to assist with activation.

Ed Rosenbaum
10 years 5 months ago

Mobile devices will continue to grow in usage. The power of the devices will create more opportunities for retailers to draw traffic.


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