January 6, 2016, 12:23 PM

Mobile devices deliver holiday e-commerce sales

Smartphones and tablets account for nearly a third of online sales during the holiday shopping season.

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An early look at e-commerce data for the holiday 2015 shopping season finds mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—driving 30.4% of online sales, according to Custora, a provider of e-commerce marketing analytics that tracks retailer clients’ results.

Apple devices accounted for 76.9% of mobile online orders while 22.7% were made on Android devices during the holiday period of Nov. 1-Dec. 31, Custora says.

During November and December, e-commerce revenue increased 12.1% over the 2014 holiday season, says Custora, which gets its information from aggregate, anonymized data from more than 200 online retailer clients representing over 500 million shoppers and $100 billion in e-commerce revenue.

Across all devices, average order value increased 1.1%, but the number of orders grew 10.9%. Organic search was the dominant channel driving online sales at 21.5%, with email marketing close behind at 20%, Custora says. Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, accounted for a sliver of e-commerce at 1.8%

Mobile traffic also jumped in data gathered by search advertising firm HookLogic. “We predicted mobile would be on par with desktop, but the fact is it got very strong, especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Elizabeth Jackson, HookLogic’s chief marketing officer, tells Internet Retailer.

The 2015 holiday season “really crystallized the fact that mobile is here,” she says. Average mobile activity the week of Dec. 21 was higher than any other week of the holiday season at 59.7% of e-commerce traffic versus 40.3% for desktop, and it was 58.4% versus 41.6% for desktop during Thanksgiving week, which began Nov. 23, according to HookLogic data. Mobile’s average for Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) was 65%, and it peaked on the morning of Thanksgiving at 71% of e-commerce activity, Jackson says.

Conversions were 2.4 times higher than average while traffic was more than 1.5 times higher during the holiday shopping season, indicating that consumers stayed in “serious buying mode, needing less research time,” HookLogic says.

“Our data shows that as retailers extend their promotions, it’s not about Black Friday, but about Black Friday week and Cyber Monday week,” Jackson says. “In the past, we saw decision days on those days, but it’s been extended and even the week after Christmas is as strong as Cyber Monday. There’s still enormous purchasing going on.”

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, were the largest U.S. online sales days this year, with $2.74 billion and $3.07 billion in retail purchases, respectively, according to the Adobe Digital Index. Thanksgiving Day generated $1.74 billion in online sales. 

HookLogic analyzed aggregated shopping activity across the HookLogic network of retail sites. Its network partners and advertisers include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., Best Buy Co., Macy’s Inc., Expedia and Priceline.

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