Thanksgiving Weekend Posts New Highs for eRetail and mRetail

POSTED BY Windsor Holden
Have you bought your Christmas presents yet?

I can tell you that, with cyber-discounts having expanded over an extended period, I was a Black Friday rather than a Cyber Monday shopper this year, buying (text redacted in the unlikely event of Mrs Holden or various children/stepchildren reading this blog).

On the other side of the Atlantic, where this retail jamboree originated, initial findings from Adobe suggest that total online spend on Cyber Monday was in the region of $2.65 billion spend, of which around 22% – or $583 million – occurred via mobiles and tablets. While this represents a rise of nearly 50% in terms of total mobile spend, mobile’s contribution to overall online spend on that day lags its typical level within the US (this year, Juniper estimates that mobiles and tablets between them will account for around a third of total US eRetail spend).

However, there have been suggestions that mobile may be a markedly higher contributor to the surge in spending on both Black Friday and Thanksgiving itself: as Tom Risen observes on US News, Cyber Monday spend was historically high because the public returned to work – on a strong Internet connection – on the Monday after Thanksgiving, whereas “mobile devices like tablets now make it easy for someone to buy gifts while lounging in a chair after Thanksgiving dinner.” Hence, it appears that a significant proportion of those purchasing via mobiles may already have done so.

This is borne out by evidence from IBM, which states that smartphones and tablets accounted for more than half (52%) of all US online traffic on that day and 33% of transactions, in line with our wider expectations. Meanwhile, BestBuy has stated that its website crash was attributable to a vast ramping up of traffic from mobile devices.

Back in the UK, Amazon recorded its busiest day on record, the 5.5 million orders on Black Friday comfortably surpassing the 4.1 million racked up on Cyber Monday 2013. (At the time of writing, Amazon had not divulged its own order figures for Cyber Monday 2014, but that too was expected to represent a record.)

What can we take from this welter of data? Firstly, that online spend, in all its forms, is on the up, and resolutely so.

Second, that mobile devices continue to comprise an ever larger proportion of online spend: couch commerce is the way forward, particularly after Thanksgiving dinner.

Thirdly – No, dear wife, I’m not telling you what you’ve got for Christmas. Wait and see.