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Mobile sales to top $1B on Thanksgiving, Black Friday combined: Adobe

The Adobe 2014 Holiday Shopping Predictions report also forecasts that mobile will have a 26 percent share of sales on Black Friday – which is even with last year – for a total $644 million. The findings point to the good job retailers are doing embracing mobile as an important shopping tool.

“The largest surprise on the mobile side was our model really predicts that mobile shopping on Thanksgiving Day will go up from 21 percent last year to 31 percent this,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Index. “That is a 10 point increase – that surprised me, that much in one year.

“It is really being driven to a large degree by things like Wi-Fi availability,” she said. “Over 60 percent of all smartphone browsing is really connecting up in Wi-Fi mode and retailers have done a much better job of making sure Wi-Fi is strong in their retail locations.”

Eclipsing Cyber Monday
Other findings include that mobile will account for 20 percent of online sales on Cyber Monday – up 2 percent from last year – for a total of $520 million.

The findings suggest that Black Friday is on pace to eclipse Cyber Monday in the next year or so as the biggest online shopping day, thanks to the growth in mobile shopping.

“Mobile shopping is causing Black Friday and Thanksgiving day to have the highest growth rates,” Ms. Gaffney said.

“It is really mobile shopping that is causing Black Friday to look like it is going to eclipse Cyber Monday by next year in terms of the largest online shopping day,” she said.

Tablet shopping declines
Another factor driving the growth in mobile shopping is how consumers have embraced larger phone screens, which are easier to complete a purchase on.

In fact, Adobe’s research suggests that larger phone screens are cannibalizing sales on tablets, with the share of spending on tablets expected to be down 14 percent this year.

“A lot of this growth is coming from smartphones, not from tablets – that was a bit surprising,” Ms. Gaffney said.

“Tablets will have a good share of spend, the most share of spend compared to smartphones but the trend is looking down,” she said.

Adobe does not expect Apple Pay and mobile wallets to have much of an impact on mobile shopping during the 2014 holiday shopping season but does expect it to play a bigger role starting next year.

Previewing deals
The growth in mobile shopping over the Thanksgiving extended weekend points to the growing role that smartphones are playing in consumers’ lives.

For example, the smartphone is becoming the go-to screen for previewing retail deals and offers as consumers travel over the long weekend and while they sit around after dinner.

The addition of Interactive Push notifications on iOS 8 is likely to further drive this trend.

“We see a heavy emphasis on product browsing and wish list additions pre-Turkey dinner and then as the evening winds down on these start converting to purchases as triggered by offers delivered via push or email,” said Maya Mikhailov, executive vice president and co-founder of  GPShopper.

“This year the addition of Interactive Push notifications on iOS8 will make those sale and product announcements more compelling with graphics and teasers,” she said.

This Thanksgiving weekend could also see savvy retailers doing more to take advantage of high video consumption rates on mobile to engage shoppers.

“What may come as a surprise to some is the volume of mobile video consumption that takes place on Thanksgiving – especially in the late afternoon and early evening hours,” Ms. Mikhailov said. “Although some retailers are strictly sales-focused this time of year, the majority are adapting to getting pre-shoppers engaged with brand content in order to effectively convert visits to purchases.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York