Last week may have been Thanksgiving, but in the business world most of the talk was focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The past few years these two shopping holidays have gained in popularity and hysteria. This year in fact, many retailers were criticized for beginning Black Friday store hours that on Thanksgiving night; however, with all time record highs for sales it seems these business owners made the right decision.
This year’s Black Friday showed increased participation from consumers yet again; however, the real story to watch is the increase of e-commerce. Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman said “Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see this shopping day become more and more prominent in the e-commerce channel – particularly among those who prefer to avoid crowds at the stores. With Black Friday online sales up 26% and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8%, we can now confidently call it a multi-channel marketing phenomenon.”
The trends that took black on Black Friday were in fact indicative of Cyber Monday events – IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark showed a 25.6 percent jump in online sales from this same time period over Cyber Monday 2011. Specifically, this year mobile shopping saw a large increase with 20.4 percent of consumers visiting a retailer’s site via mobile device at 10.1% completing a purchase. As shown in the chart below, the highest shopping momentum was around 11:30 am with another surge after work when consumers had more time.
In statistics released by PayPal, the company saw 196 percent more mobile payment volume in 2012 than in 2011. Since retailers increased holiday online promotions and made them available earlier, combined with the mania surrounding in store sales, Cyber Monday and mobile payments will most likely increase again next year.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, social sales contributed barely anything to Black Friday and Cyber Monday (some reports show less than 1% of sales took place on social networks). The disparity between mobile and social sales could be due to the lack of seamless integration on social networks. With smartphones and tablets, consumers most likely find it easier to shop directly from a retailer’s website.
However, as Tricia Duryee pointed out, “In contrast, social commerce is more complicated [than mobile or e-commerce]. Consumers may discover new products through friends, or get advice via Facebook or Twitter, but being able to track those referrals back to where they came from is not always easy.” This points out the discrepancy in social analytics that businesses and marketers alike are stuck with, for now.
For businesses, it seems the coming year will be heavily focused on mobile sales efforts. Nevertheless, the value of social media marketing cannot and should not be ignored. Although it is difficult to track at the moment, the word of mouth advertising that occurs socially is invaluable for businesses. Fortunately with so many new analytics tools in development, and this issue such a pressing matter for accurate results measurement, there should be a solution in 2013.
Contact Wild Frog Studio for your holiday promotions at 914.428.4645 or via email.