Mobile shopping app installation hit a new single-day record on Black Friday, with around 2.8 million downloads, up nearly 8% year over year, according to preliminary estimates from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence.
Walmart, Amazon and Shop took the top three spots for most downloaded shopping apps for Black Friday 2020 overall. Walmart, Target and Best Buy were the top three brick-and-mortar retailer apps. Amazon, Shop and Shein were the top three online-only apps, according to the report.
Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 29, shopping app downloads reached approximately 59.2 million across the U.S. Apple App Store and Google Play, a 15% increase from the same period in 2019, per the report.
As consumers shifted their holiday spending online due to the impact of COVID-19, retailers responded by spreading out holiday deals over a series of weeks leading up to Black Friday, thereby leading to a "surge" of first-time installs of mobile shopping apps in the U.S., according to Sensor Tower's analysis.
Black Friday became the No. 2 day of all-time for online sales, hitting about $9 billion, an increase of 21.6% from last year, per Adobe Analytics data.
While this year has been much different than consumers and retailers expected, the coronavirus pandemic seems to have accelerated digital trends, including improving app functionality, streamlining mobile shopping and reaching consumers via social media. Sensor Tower's report points out that retailers will need to create mobile apps that enable marketing and discovery to match functions for consumers.
Early estimates of the 2020 holiday season forecasted low overall sales. The National Retail Federation estimated that holiday spending growth could range between 3.6% and 5.2%, somewhat higher than forecasts from CBRE which estimated less than 2% growth, and the International Council of Shopping Centers which said the holidays would see a 1.9% rise in sales. As for e-commerce, the NRF anticipates online sales to grow between 20% and 30% from last year.
More consumers have shifted their focus to platforms offering budget-friendly options or installment payment plans as the COVID-19 pandemic sends the country into a recession, according to the Sensor Tower report. Retailers offering online discounts in mid-October catalyzed e-commerce sales growth, according to analysis from Deloitte's InsightIQ.