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How mobile is redefining "Holiday Shopping"

Nov 23, 2017 8:08:59 AM

As the holiday shopping season starts on Thanksgiving Day, marketers will see even more changes attributed to mobile in consumer buying behavior.


In 2016, sales and traffic at US brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday declined from the previous year, as stores offered discounts well beyond the weekend and the number of people shopping online increased

As expected, the balance has shifted to the other side of the fence. Thanksgiving and Black Friday online sales tracked by Adobe Digital Index were $5.27 billion, up 18% from a year earlier and higher than its prior estimate of $5.05 billion.

Figures for mobile are even more impressive as it contributed more than $1 billion to Black Friday sales of $3.34 billion – that’s a 30% share of sales.

This isn’t much of a surprise. In fact, it was quite foreseeable given the increase of time spent on mobile devices particularly on mobile apps. In 2016, the average US adult spent 2 hours, 37 minutes per day using mobile apps and web, a jump of 31.7% over the previous year. In addition, mobile commerce continued to expand. For instance, comScore estimated US holiday season retail e-commerce sales on its platform increased 44% last year, accounting for 21% of the total percentage of online holiday shopping for Q4 2016.

 Why mobile sales or engagement will shine again in 2017

Mobile embraces the spotlight simply because it is where today’s consumers go as they increasingly avoid crowded stores in favor of online and mobile shopping experiences. Naturally, ad dollars would follow because mobile provides consumers holistic shopping information not just for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday but also for the Christmas Day-- the best holidays for shopping.

According to Deloitte’s 2016 Holiday Survey, 78% of American smartphone owners planned to use their device for holiday shopping. Fortunately for physical retailers, finding their way to a brick-and-mortar store is the most popular smartphone activity among holiday shoppers. The chart below shows what else Americans are using their smart shopping assistants for.


As time spent on mobile increases, so does mobile advertising spend

How did mobile advertisers leverage the latest insights on consumer mobile behavior for the big holiday shopping season last year?

Pocketmath data from November to December 2016 showed that US mobile ad spend and impressions increased in earnest in the first couple of weeks with the US election.


During this period, advertisers achieved impressions at better pricing. However, bidding grew more aggressive heading towards Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. It became much more competitive towards Christmas Eve, causing advertisers to spend more but get fewer impressions.

Here’s how ad spend looked like spread across IAB ad categories in 2016.


The top three ad spend IAB categories were Shopping, Arts and Entertainment, Travel. Shopping, Arts and Entertainments also had the most impressions along with Hobbies and Interests, from November to December 2016. From November 1 to December 31, 2016, the most mobile ad spending weeks were in November 9, November 23, and December 21.




Given the data and trend observed, another spectacular growth is expected in mobile, particularly in mobile ecommerce in Q4 2017. Savvy digital and mobile marketers must have started early for the holiday season. Is your mobile marketing and advertising strategy ready? Test to ensure what works for your target audiences and what doesn’t and optimized for the best. Make your holiday advertising strategy work.

Talk to your expert to create smarter mobile ad campaigns.




This article was originally published on MarTech Advisor.

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7 winning mobile strategies to try this holiday season


Hannah Jeon

Written by Hannah Jeon