Black Friday…It sounds rather ominous, with those not in the know probably thinking it refers to a terrible day in history. However, it is merely the name given to the Friday following Thanksgiving which sees US retailers slash their prices to kick off the Christmas sales.
A survey from the National Retail Federation estimated that 147 million people would go shopping in physical stores between last Friday and Sunday, although more and more people are opting to buy goods online and on the move.
Although Black Friday is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year in the US, IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark revealed that mobile shoppers made more purchases on Thanksgiving than on the following day.
The report shows that 18 per cent of all online sales on Thanksgiving were made via a mobile device this year, while just 16.3 per cent of all online sales on Black Friday were made on the move, although this represented a massive increase from the 9.8 per cent recorded in 2011.
Black Friday also saw the biggest increase in online activity, surging 20.7 per cent over the last 12 months as more people opted to avoid the queues and shop from home. Online sales on Thanksgiving also grew, albeit by a more modest 17.4 per cent.
IBM’s study also showed how mobile devices are becoming a bigger part of consumer’s transaction journey, with nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of shoppers opting to use a smartphone or tablet computer to visit a retailer’s site on Black Friday, up from 14.3 per cent in 2011. A similar proportion relied on their mobile device to find out more info about products on Thanksgiving.
Over half (58 per cent) of survey respondents revealed that they used their smartphones to find cheap deals, while 41 per cent of tablet owners hunted for bargains on their device. Despite this, more traffic was generated by the iPad than any other mobile device. Overall, Apple’s device accounted for 88.3 per cent of tablet traffic, while the Nook held 3.1 per cent and the Amazon Kindle had 2.4 per cent.
“The big winners were chief marketing officers who used technology to deliver customer experiences that not only connected shoppers with personalised deals but did so at the right touchpoint and at precisely the right time and place, whether on their couch or the store floor,” said Jay Henderson, strategy director, IBM Smarter Commerce.
Online auction giant eBay revealed that the number of mobile transactions conducted in the US rose by 153 per cent on Black Friday compared to last year, with Thanksgiving Day mobile transaction volumes up 135 per cent.
PayPal experienced similarly good figures, with Black Friday its busiest mobile shopping day ever. There was a 173 per cent rise in the number of customers using the service via their mobile on November 23rd 2012 compared to the previous year.
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