25% of Thanksgiving Weekend Online Sales Will Be On Mobile Devices

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

market-researchIt’s November and every business owner knows that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best times to sell products in-store and online, respectively. This dynamic remains relatively true, but it’s not the whole story. In this case, what every business owner knows, isn’t all there is to know. A recent study from from Adobe gives predictions for the Thanksgiving sales period and the data gives business owners useful insights about what will happen that can be used to plan better holiday marketing campaigns.

The 2014 Holiday Shopping Predictions from Adobe gives sales predictions for the November/December holidays. This year, they estimate that November and December will account for roughly 27 percent of the total U.S. annual online sales. It’s definitely a time of year for businesses owners to bring their best.

The Adobe study utilizes data from more than a trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites since 2008. Don’t think that it’s all old data, the dataset includes 20 billion visits to ecommerce websites just from October of this year. More than 70 percent of the online sales from the top 500 retailers is measured by Adobe Marketing Cloud data used in the study. Last year, the predictions from this methodology were accurate within one percent for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

To start with the obvious, Thanksgiving weekend will be a huge sales period for online retailers. Adobe predicts that over that three-day period, ecommerce will generate $6.5 billion in sales. Many of these sales will happen on desktop computers, since people will be at home and most consumers are still more accustomed to shopping via their home computer.

Though desktops will have an impressive ecommerce season, the growing importance of mobile can’t be denied, since purchased made from smartphones and tablets are projected to account for $1.6 billion of the the total. So roughly, one in every four dollar spent online during the Thanksgiving weekend will be done from a mobile device. And that’s a conservative estimate.

“We may be too low with [the mobile numbers],” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Index, in an article for AdWeek. “The reason why is the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus weren’t factored into our research.

Another predictable finding is that social media marketing will play a big role in helping consumers find gifts for others. According to Adobe’s survey, 25 percent of consumers will consult social media before buying gift. The effect is more pronounced for millennials where 40 percent are likely to use social networks for gift ideas.

One important thing marketers can learn from the report is that traditional views of holiday shopping can lead businesses to make mistakes. For example, online marketers like to make a big deal about Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the largest online shopping day, but not by much. In the latest predictions, Cyber Monday sales should be around $2.6 billion, but Black Friday sales are in the sale range with $2.48 billion. Shunning online sales on Black Friday so they can run on Cyber Monday means a business is cutting their potential profit from their campaign in half.

As more customers realize that online deals are available before Cyber Monday, it will soon become less important than Black Friday. In this latest report, the projection for Cyber Monday online sales grew by 15 percent from the previous year. Black Friday. In contrast, Black Friday sales grew by a whopping 28 percent. The trend is also good for store owners. If they can get more of their customers to shop online on Black Friday, it eliminates some of the costly extra staffing required to handle throngs of in-store customers.

However, even businesses who focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are disadvantaging themselves. According to Adobe, online prices should hit their lowest point on Thanksgiving Day. Adobe predicts that Thanksgiving Day will be a record $1.35 billion, a 27 percent increase from last year. This is a great time for businesses to use email marketing to reach their customers. People still have their phones with them wherever they go,  which means they will get emails advertising great deals they can order with a click of a button from their phone. In some respects, this is in line with another finding from the study. Adobe estimates that 31 percent of online sales will be generated via smartphones and tablets on Thanksgiving Day, up from 21 percent in 2013. The researchers estimate that Thanksgiving Day will be the most mobile shopping day of the year. Mobile sales are expected to reach $418 million, thus account for 33% of online sales.

With just a few weeks left until Thanksgiving, now is the time to get marketing campaigns and website infrastructures prepared. This report gives business owners another reasons to ensure their websites and mobile sites are ready to handle the customers who will be on their sites on Thanksgiving Day, ready to buy. Instead of worrying about crowded checkout lines in the stores, businesses should make sure their ecommerce mobile sites are fast, the information is accurate, and that all features work properly.

For more research that can help business owners craft better holiday campaigns, read this article with holiday-related stats on social media marketing.

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