Selling Point: Black Friday Shopping Makes Splash With Mobile


Every year when Thanksgiving dinner rolls around, mealtime conversation likely turns from turkey and pumpkin pie to Black Friday shopping plans. But in November 2019, for the first time in history, instead of visiting a few of their go-to brick-and-mortar stores or malls on the busiest shopping day of the year, most consumers purchased their gifts via smartphone. According to Salesforce, 65 percent of all ecommerce was conducted via mobile. Overall, sales from smartphone purchases on Black Friday reached $2.9 billion, according to Adobe, amounting to 39 percent of all ecommerce sales; a 21-percent increase from 2018.

According to Retail Dive, this change in purchasing behaviors was a notable transition made by retailers to eliminate the space between digital and non-digital avenues for consumers. This finding is also aligned with the data published in the NPD Group’s Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, a survey of 3,485 participants, published in October 2019, predicting the holiday season shopping patterns. According to NPD Group, although consumers enjoy visiting storefronts because it “puts them in the holiday spirit,” most would prefer to nix gifting altogether in exchange for experiences with loved ones. However, NPD Group also said that stores with pickup services will draw consumers; one in five will use store pickup for their ecommerce purchases.

Overall, traffic to brick-and-mortar stores was down 6.2 percent on Black Friday 2019, according to ShopperTrak, but this may be due to consumers’ decisions to shop earlier, rather than closer to the holidays. This trend was also noted in NPD Group’s survey, which found that more consumers started their holiday shopping in September or earlier compared with 2018. At the time the survey was published, five percent of consumers had already finished their holiday shopping, while 23 percent had started and another 23 percent planned to start before Thanksgiving. Further, 17 percent of consumers said they planned to start shopping on Black Friday, while 16 percent said they were waiting until early December to do so, and four percent were waiting until the last minute. This is a trend that’s been years in the making, according to the NPD Group. From 2007 through 2019, some 50 percent of consumers shopped before Thanksgiving; a near 20-percent increase from 2007. Those who started shopping in early December or last minute decreased to about 19 percent in 2019; a 38-percent drop from 2007.

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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