December 4, 2013, 4:50 PM

Expect heavy mobile sales the weekend before ‘Green Monday’

Huge m-commerce growth Thanksgiving weekend means more to come, vendors say.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

Shoppers on smartphones and tablets were out in force Thanksgiving weekend 2013, and that bodes well for much more mobile commerce to come in the run-up to Christmas—especially the weekend before Green Monday (Dec. 9), the Monday that falls on the calendar with at least 10 days left until Christmas, m-commerce technology vendors say.

On Black Friday (Nov. 29), for 25 retailer clients of m-commerce platform vendor Moovweb, sales via smartphone increased 574% compared with Fridays in October, the vendor says. Orders on smartphones soared 562%, mobile page views 232%, mobile visits 209% and mobile conversion rates 113%, Moovweb says.

On Cyber Monday (Dec. 2), sales via smartphone for the same 25 retailers increased 62% over Black Friday’s mobile totals, Moovweb reports. Smartphone visits were up 10% and conversion rates were up 55%.

“No question: Mobile customers were looking to buy,” says Jarret Cuisinier, senior director of m-commerce at Moovweb, whose clients include 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., Chico's FAS Inc., Golfsmith International Holdings Inc., Macy’s Inc., Sharpie, Sur la Table Inc. and Vitacost.com Inc. Moovweb is the mobile commerce vendor for nine retailers in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

“Mobile conversions and sales jumped dramatically on Black Friday due to customer excitement, targeted promotions and increased comfort on mobile devices,” Cuisinier says. “Smartphones are now integrated in everything we do and this includes hunting for Black Friday deals from anywhere at any time. The increase in conversions on Cyber Monday was likely a result of more targeted, online-specific offers and fewer customers using their smartphones for in-store comparison shopping. For these reasons and more, Cyber Monday seems to have convinced mobile holiday shoppers to take out their wallets and convert.”

From Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) through Cyber Monday (Dec. 2), for more than 14,000 small and medium-sized retailers with smartphone-optimized and tablet-optimized sites from m-commerce platform provider ShopPad Inc., 20% of all online sales occurred on a mobile device, the vendor reports.

For the big holiday weekend, ShopPad also finds that:

  • The iPhone was the device of choice for 70% of smartphone shoppers, and iPhone shoppers spent 4% more than Android smartphone shoppers.
  • The most popular Android smartphone used by mobile shoppers was Samsung’s Galaxy S III.
  • For the fourth straight year, the iPad dominated its tablet competitors in average order value, conversion rate and overall traffic.
  • Compared with smartphone shoppers, tablet shoppers took their time, browsing nearly three times longer before making a purchase.
  • 73% of mobile shoppers used devices with high-density displays, such as Apple Inc.’s so-called “Retina Display,” super-high-definition screen resolution through which, Apple claims, the human eye cannot distinguish pixels.
  • Shoppers on non-mobile devices continue to outperform their mobile counterparts. Desktop shoppers converted better (4% desktop, 2.1% mobile) and averaged more items per transaction (2.5 desktop, 2.1 mobile).
  • Mobile shoppers have become more comfortable with making purchases on their mobile devices. The average mobile order value increased 20% year over year, and the gap between desktop and mobile average order values has been narrowing.

Mobile shopping results last weekend point to big gains for mobile commerce this holiday season, and retailers should be prepared for heavy mobile sales on Green Monday, Dec. 17, and the preceding weekend, says Aaron Wadler, founder and CEO of ShopPad.

Fraud prevention vendor iovation also finds that mobile commerce was big last weekend. Analyzing millions of online transactions from its numerous retail clients, iovation finds that 30% of all online retail purchases from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2013—Nov. 29 to Dec. 2—were conducted on mobile devices. This compares with 12% Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2012—Nov. 23-26—representing a 150% increase. To date in 2013, 15% of all online retail purchases have been conducted on a mobile device, iovation says.

“Over the last couple years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of mobile banking, and now, as evidenced by our holiday shopping stats, we’re seeing a similar rise for retail,” says iovation vice president of product Scott Olson. “This is a tipping point for online retail purchases.”

According to iovation, from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2013, 0.5% of all online retail purchases were fraudulent. This dramatically dropped from the same period in 2012, when 1.5% of all online retail purchases were fraudulent. Iovation credits the drop in online fraud in part to the increased use of mobile devices, saying cybercriminals prefer to use desktop and laptop computers.

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