This year, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was different, says Greg Bettinelli, chief marketing officer at flash sale e-retailer HauteLook. He points to many stores opening on Thanksgiving Day itself and heavy promotions surrounding these store openings, along with what he says was a heavier than normal amount of promotions by retailers pushing online shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving.
“Historically the Internet season started on Cyber Monday, but this year it started on Thanksgiving,” Bettinelli says. “A lot of the e-commerce players said if there are people standing outside in line on Thanksgiving, they will have smartphones in front of them, so maybe we can do something. We had a Thanksgiving evening sales event. It was incredibly successful. Black Friday was a huge day for us. Thursday and Friday were definitely different than what we’ve seen in past years.”
So different that mobile commerce sales for the weekend encompassing Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, Nov. 22-26, were up 110% for HauteLook, Bettinelli reports. Mobile sales were up 180% on Thanksgiving year over year. Half of that growth can be attributed to an overall sales growth experienced by HauteLook in the last year, Bettinelli says, and the other half of that growth comes from a shift by consumers away from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets.
HauteLook is a unit of Nordstrom Inc., No. 53 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400.
50% of total HauteLook traffic now stems from mobile devices, he says. 55% of that traffic is from smartphones while 45% is from tablets. 50-55% of mobile traffic comes from iPhones, 40-45% from iPads, and less than 5% from Android devices.
Bettinelli declines to reveal exact sales figures, but says that 35% of total sales Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday were mobile, and that this week the company is on track to having the highest-grossing sales week in HauteLook’s five-year history. He adds that the e-retailer is on a run of several seven-figure sales days in a row.
Today 40% of mobile sales stem from smartphones and 60% from tablets, almost entirely the iPad. Slicing the mobile pie a different way, 75% of mobile sales occurred in smartphone and tablet apps while 25% occurred through mobile web browsers on smartphones (an m-commerce site) and tablets (the e-commerce site shopped on a tablet).
“Three-quarters of our mobile business is in the apps,” Bettinelli says. “There are probably 10 companies with numbers like that. The flash-sale and daily-deals businesses have a unique selling point in mobile, and then you have Fandango and a couple others that are driving a ton of sales through apps.”
Total HauteLook sales from the iPad for Thanksgiving weekend were 65% greater than sales from the iPhone, Bettinelli says. The typical HauteLook iPad shopper converts at a higher rate than desktop and smartphone shoppers and has a higher average order value than both.
“Tablet transactions are on average 50% bigger than ones on iPhones,” Bettinelli says. “If we make $2 for every person on an iPhone, we make $2.50 for desktop users and $3 for iPad shoppers. An iPad is a pre-qualifier for a better customer, a lot of our better customers have iPads. I can’t say it’s fully because of the device. The device is a good experience, but it’s not that much better than the computer, so it’s as much about the customer who uses that device. An iPad is an indicator of the quality of a customer.”
When 2012 is complete, Bettinelli predicts 30% of total sales will be mobile.
“We’re picking up a couple of points a month on the mobile side,” he says. “For December our total sales for mobile will be 35%, and on weekend days and holidays well over 40%. When you look out to 2013 with the addition of the iPad mini, which will be a huge holiday gift, and with the continued successful release of the iPhone 5 and the new iPad and some additional traction from some Android tablets, mobile will get close to 50% of sales.”