Black Friday kicked off this year’s holiday season and showed that if stores remain the major shopping channel, but that mobile is the fastest driver of sales growth. Store sales at most retailers were flat or declined, according to most reports. Online sales, on the other hand, rose rapidly year-over-year, fueled largely by the power of mobile.
The findings below and similar reports from this year’s kick-off of the crucial holiday season pointed to the new facts of life, as well as major opportunities, for retailers of all sizes.
- Smartphones accounted for 43% of traffic and 24% of orders on Cyber Monday, jumping 104% and 115% respectively over the year before, according to Channel Advisor. Sure, based on small number but nonetheless dramatic and I believe quite telling.
- Smartphone and Tablets combined drove 55% of traffic and 35% of orders, while Cyber Monday itself overtook Black Friday as the top sales day of the weekend. In fact, many retailers that cater to millennials reached the ‘mobile moment’ – meaning mobile drove more than 50% of sales, the Channel Advisor report stated.
- At the same time, myriad sources reported that retailers experienced lackluster or negative year-over-year physical same-store sales during Black Friday and the overall weekend.
- Mobile firmly established itself as the dominant shopping trend for both traffic and sales, said Fernando Madeira, President and CEO, Walmart.com, in a statement. Mobile makes up more than 70 percent of traffic to Walmart.com, he noted, and nearly half of its orders since Thanksgiving were placed on a mobile device – double compared to last year.
- Sales from social media also surged: revenue from social media platforms jumped an astounding 240% year-over-year on Black Friday and the total weekend, according to a report from Market Live.
Online still represents a relatively modest percentage of total retail sales. But the rapid adoption and impact of mobile is pushing ecommerce ever more quickly to new heights. Young shoppers today love and covet their smart phones, tablets and social media. They hardly know anything else.
Retailers are of course smart to invest in transforming stores into showcases for customer experience – though with fewer locations. But they must build out omnichannel. Black Friday and the holiday weekend shopping patterns showed that mobile holds the most important key to growth.
Mobile is not only about retail, of course. It is about technology, about culture and about today’s reality. To win in today’s rapidly changing business environment, retailers have to embrace and exploit mobile as quickly as possible. The alternative is not even worth mentioning.