Some retailers launched online deals well in advance of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
More than half of sales come from mobile devices.
In what may be a harbinger of how much shopping behavior is changing, 53% of web retailer Rue La La's sales on April 14 came from its m-commerce site and mobile apps.
This was not a fluke, says Steve Davis, president of Rue La La. Mobile typically accounts for 30% of sales on weekdays and 40% on weekends.
"Not only has mobile arrived as its own commerce channel, it is growing with a vengeance—I've never seen anything accelerate so quickly," Davis says. "For us the desktop is almost dead—mobile is everything. In two years we went from 1% of sales to 50% on a day, and it just keeps growing."
What's more, at Rue La La, mobile consumers are better customers than those who only shop on desktop PCs. A customer who shops Rue La La on three screens—desktop, smartphone and tablet—is 540% more likely to make a purchase than a customer who only shops on the desktop, Davis reports.
Rue La La offers limited-quantity flash sales every day at 11 a.m. So no matter where they may be, shoppers need to be prepared. And, clearly, many are not near a desktop computer.
One of the keys to Rue La La's mobile success, Davis says, is in the way it sets up shoppers for checkout. Rue La La is a members-only e-retailer. And a member must sign in to start shopping, which means that before a member even begins shopping she is automatically logged into her account. When it's time to check out, she is presented with her saved shipping and payment information, thus avoiding the need to type in anything, which is a sore spot in m-commerce.