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Blockbuster, Office Depot nail Black Friday mobile performance: report

Blockbuster, Office Depot and Rakuten were well prepared for the surge in smartphone and tablet shopping on Black Friday as mobile sales surged 43 percent year-over-year, according to several new pieces of research this weekend.

The retailers led the pack of Compuware’s analysis of the top 50 retailers in the United States during Black Friday, which found that many retailers were not prepared for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday mobile traffic. Despite the subpar experience, IBM reports that mobile sales grew significantly on both days this year.

“We found the average page load time for Thanksgiving day was more than 10 seconds for mobile Web sites across the top 50 U.S. retailers,” said Steven Dykstra, senior product manager at Compuware APM, Detroit.

“In addition, on average it took more than 18 seconds to conduct a multi-step transaction that included accessing the home page, conducting a search, viewing a product description, adding items to the shopping cart and reviewing the order,” he said.

“These performance levels indicate that retailers weren’t as prepared as they could have been for the additional traffic from mobile devices over the weekend, especially as mobile consumers prize speed and convenience above all else.”

Keeping up to speed
Blockbuster, Office Depot, Rakuten, JC Penney and HSN were the top five performing sites during Black Friday.

Mobile performance includes response time, availability and consistency.

CDW, Grainger, Office Depot, Amazon and Staples were the top five retailers that Compuware surveyed with the best mobile transaction performance during Black Friday. This measures the performance of sites for consumers completing multi-step checkouts.

When it comes to the best performance of the mobile homepage, Costco, Apple, Dell, Office Max and JC Penney rounded out the top five retailers surveyed by Compuware.

Compuware’s data found that the average mobile page response time was eight seconds on Black Friday, highlighting the surge in mobile browsing and shopping.

Similarly, Keynote Systems found the average mobile response time was 8.8 seconds from the retails sites that it examined this weekend. The company claims that this is roughly a 35 percent increase in performance from last year.

A higher than six second load time increases page abandonment rates from 12 percent to 20 percent, according to Compuware. This indicates that many retailers were not prepared for the uptick in mobile traffic this year for both Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

“Consumers appear to have responded to retailers’ strong push to get them online early this year, but users’ experiences are tightly aligned with the success of a site,” Mr. Dykstra said. “The success or failure of sales is significantly impacted by site performance.”

Mobile uptick
Mobile accounted for 25.8 percent of total online sales on Thanksgiving, according to data from IBM.

With Thanksgiving falling later this year than in the past, retailers including Macy’s, Kohl’s and Target began holiday promotions earlier to make up for the lost time. In many of these cases, mobile-specific campaigns gave consumers sneak peaks and first access to Black Friday offers on Thanksgiving.

In fact, retailers sent 37 percent more push notifications on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year compared to last year, per IBM. Additionally, retail app installations grew 23 percent year-over-year.

On Black Friday, mobile traffic hit 39.7 percent of all online traffic and raked in 21.8 percent of online sales. The percentage of mobile sales made on Black Friday represent a 43 percent YOY growth.

IBM’s data also split up Black Friday mobile traffic between tablets and smartphones. Smartphones drove 24.9 percent and tablets accounted for 14.2 percent.

When it comes to shopping, tablets drove double the amount of sales that smartphones did on Black Friday. Tablets accounted for 14.4 percent and smartphones accounted for 7.2 percent of all online sales.

Tablet users also spent an average of 15 percent more than smartphone owners. Tablet users spent an average $132.75 per order compared to the $115.63 average from smartphone shoppers.

IOS users spent $127.92 per order and Android shoppers spent an average of $105.20 per order.

Overall, there was a 19.7 percent year-over-year increase in Thanksgiving Day online sales while Black Friday sales grew 18.9 percent. The average order value was $135.27, up 2.2 percent from 2012.

IBM’s data is pulled from its digital analytics benchmark platform, which measures transactions and data from 800 retail sites in the United States.

“While smartphones were clearly the browsing device of choice, shoppers actually made purchases at a much higher rate on their tablets,” said Jay Henderson, global strategy program director of the EMM Group at IBM, Armonk, NY.

“We’ve already seen record mobile traffic and sales on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” he said. “We think that trend will continue on Cyber Monday, although we probably won’t see the same level of mobile growth as shoppers return to work and school and spend more time on laptops and desktops.”

Revenue increases
Branding Brand’s Mobile Commerce Index also measured mobile’s impact during Thanksgiving on 152 clients’ mobile sites across apparel, home goods and health and beauty.

The research looks at smartphone-specific sites rather than non-optimized sites with traffic from mobile devices.

There were a total of 7,218,935 mobile visitors on Thanksgiving. There were also 46,069,186 mobile page views on Thanksgiving.

Roughly 67 percent of visits came from iOS devices and 33 percent came from Android devices, according to Branding Brand.

Additionally, 117,850 orders were placed on the mobile sites surveyed with iOS devices representing about 70 percent of sales.

Branding Brand also compared Thanksgiving traffic and sales for 46 smartphone sites for retailers this year compared to 2012.

Mobile visits increased 68.66 percent YOY and page views grew 102.62 percent.

As retailers continue to see an uptick in mobile traffic, sales are also gaining traction for marketers this year.

Mobile sales increased 258.18 percent on Thanksgiving this year versus 2012, and the average order value grew 15.71 percent.

Pay with mobile?
PayPal reported a 121 percent increase in mobile payment transactions during Black Friday.

Additionally, there was a 99.2 percent increase in consumers shopping via PayPal on mobile from 2012.

The top city for mobile shopping was Houston, followed by Chicago and Los Angeles. Shoppers in Miami and New York rounded out the top five cities that consumers used smartphones and tablets to shop from this weekend.

PayPal claims to power one-fifth of all ecommerce transactions.

“Although there is technically less time to shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, PayPal research shows that consumers are starting their holiday shopping nearly two months in advance, on September 30th,” said Stacy General, customer experience advocate at PayPal, San Jose, CA.

“Retailers are adjusting their calendars too, planning their marketing and promotions earlier as well,” she said.

Final Take
PayPal’s mobile Payment Code program