First-time users for the top 10 mobile shopping apps in the U.S. grew more than 16% on Black Friday last week compared to last year, with half a million new users downloading apps from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Macy's, Fashion Nova and others, according to Sensor Tower's Store Intelligence platform estimates.
Amazon's flagship shopping had the most new downloads, gaining about 115,000 new users, representing an 11.7% increase over the same day last year. Walmart came in second, gaining about 95,000 first-time users to its app, growth of about 39.7% over last year.
Overall, across all mobile shopping apps, there were approximately 1.8 million new downloads on Black Friday, an increase of 9% over the same day in 2017, according to Sensor Tower.
The industry is starting to get a clear picture of mobile shopping performance for the early holiday season. In addition to Sensor Tower's download numbers, Adobe Analytics said in an email to Retail Dive that about $15.3 billion was spent by consumers shopping from mobile smartphones between Nov. 1 and Nov. 25, representing 56% year-over-year growth. Additionally, $2.2 billion of sales on Cyber Monday came from mobile devices, out of a total $7.9 billion spent online on the shopping day.
Meanwhile, mobile traffic to retailers' websites accounted for 68% of all traffic on Black Friday, and 54% of all orders placed came from mobile devices, marking the first time mobile has overtaken desktop, according to data from Salesforce's Commerce Cloud that was emailed to Retail Dive. This all builds on what has already been pretty strong year for adoption of retailer mobile apps by consumers.
Overall, online shopping activity on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday appeared to match all the hype the sector had generated in recent weeks, a pretty impressive feat given that Amazon reportedly was hit by a security breach, and some Walmart customers complained on social media about online checkout problems. The successful long weekend is an indicator that it will be another banner season for e-commerce and mobile commerce.
All of this activity is good news for retailers leaning on mobile, but massive digital shopping growth also can come with overwhelming shipping traffic and other issues that retailers need to manage effectively in order to see a payoff in customer loyalty. For retailers' mobile apps, the aim is to get as many of those new users as possible to keep the apps on their phones, rather than deleting them. While the early signs may be positive, the entire purchasing cycle needs ongoing attention so that retailers aren't dealing with trouble in the new year.