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Mobile will drive 51pc of Thanksgiving Day online shopping visits: report

For the first time ever, mobile traffic to retailers’ Web sites is expected to overtake desktop on Thanksgiving Day, with mobile forecast to represent 51 percent of traffic and 29 percent of online sales that day, according to a new report from Adobe.

Mobile’s contribution to online sales on Thanksgiving Day will grow 12 percent from a year ago, reflecting consumers’ growing comfort with mobile purchasing and the gains that retailers have made in streamlining mobile checkout. While there has been a lot of focus on buy buttons on social media sites, Adobe predicts just 2 percent of sales will be directly impacted by social networks, on par with where it was last year.

“Our mobile devices have made the distinction between online and offline invisible,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Index. “We’ve seen steady growth in browsing, but last year’s introduction of larger screen smartphones have made it easier to transact directly on the phone.

“For the first time, mobile will drive the majority of online shopping visits and nearly 30 cents on the dollar of actual spending on Thanksgiving day,” she said. “This means that the shopping experience is becoming increasingly user-friendly and accessible for the average consumer.”

Thanksgiving Day’s growing role
The report, 2015 Digital Index Online Shopping Prediction, predicts that iOS will represent 22 percent of mobile sales on Thanksgiving Day, compared to 7 percent for Android.

On the social front, referred revenue-per-visit as of the third quarter of 2015 shows that Facebook is in the lead with $1.24, followed by Pinterest at $0.74, Twitter at $0.60 and Reddit at $0.57.

Thanksgiving Day is expected to be the fastest growing online sales day for the second consecutive year, with an 18 percent increase from last year and $1.6 billion in sales, according to Adobe.

Cyber Monday sales are expected to total $3 billion for the first time, up 12 percent from last year.

Sales on Black Friday are expected to increase 15 percent for a total of $2.7 billion.

Thanksgiving Day has been playing a bigger role in sales for the holiday weekend over the past few years. This is, in part, being driven by mobile, which makes it easy for consumers to fit in a bit of shopping before and after dinner while remaining in close proximity to their family and friends.

“Mobile traffic is even more likely to utilize search or email to find products, but in fact, analysis shows that banner advertising is three times more likely to deliver a discount of 10 percent or more, and social media is twice as likely when compared to search,” Ms. Gaffney said. “Also, mobile search users are only likely to receive a 10 percent or more discount on a product 7 percent of the time.”

The best deals
Adobe also predicts that online prices will be lowest on Thanksgiving Day, which means savvy shoppers will be on their phones looking for the best deals.

Overall, online sales for the holiday season are expected to reach $83 billion, up 11 percent from last year.

Adobe predicts 60 percent of sales will be devoted to electronics and 10 percent to gift cards.

“The demand for mobile shopping is still somewhat stifled by ease of use,” Ms. Gaffney said. “In particular, 28 percent of our holiday shopping survey respondents said that it is not easy enough to complete the transaction due to the small keyboard size they are working with, and 33 percent still need to see the product at a bigger size before purchasing.

“Retailers must take advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile devices to encourage shoppers to complete their transaction entirely on mobile,” she said.

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