Shoppers probably haven’t even realized it yet, but there are 6 fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and many people (about 1 in 5) will still wait until Black Friday to start their shopping. This year our Adobe Digital Index analyzed nearly half a trillion visits to the top retail websites and surveyed over 2000 consumers to uncover the big new online shopping trends.
The net of the big data model is that shoppers should expect a fast-paced, mobile multi-tasking, intensely promotional and very social 27 days. Online retailers will need to lengthen the season as much as possible or face a potential of $1.5 billion in lost sales. Strategies for retailers should include starting promotions earlier, more targeted advertising, personalizing online shopping experiences, capitalizing on mobile shopping and offering free or low priced expedited shipping.
Consumers have been conditioned to wait and start their shopping on Black Friday because that’s when they think they’ll get the best deals. As a side note, our data shows that the lowest prices may actually be at the very end of the season. This year, however, those promotions will come out earlier leaving more consumers with an urge to start shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving will actually be the fastest growing online sales day of the season (up 21% over last year) and much of that will be driven by mobile shopping done under the turkey table or while supposedly watching a football game.
In 2010 Thanksgiving was a below-average sales day, but over the past three years it has grown faster than any other day for online sales. If current growth rates continue, brick-and-click retailers are expected to sell more online on Thanksgiving Day than on Black Friday within the next 5 years.
Although overall spending patterns are expected to remain flat this year, 30% of consumers say they will be moving more dollars online. Given the short season, they may well have to. The result will be double digit growth on key days. Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day ever and will top $2 billion up 15% over last year. Black Friday will be the second largest at over 1.5 billion and up 17%.
Last year retailers saw in-store mobile shopping start to take off. This year, consumers say they will shop even more on smartphones and tablets. While waiting in long lines on Black Friday or visiting family over the Thanksgiving weekend, consumers say they will shop 40% more from their mobile devices than last year. Stores like Macy’s and Target will have special applications that help shoppers navigate Black Friday deals in store and online.
As we noted in a recent social media report, with ads in the newsfeed and promoted tweets and pins, advertising impressions on sites such as Facebook are up 85% versus last year, so consumers should expect to see more and more relevant advertising on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
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This article is written by Adobe and not by the Quartz editorial staff.