This holiday weekend I participated in the holiday shopping craze, amongst the long lines on Black Friday, I was armed with my smartphone shopping for other items online while I waited to purchase my items at the store. While at home, my tablet was my device of choice while watching the Cowboys vs. Redskins NFL football game. I am not the only one who enjoyed using mobile devices while out this weekend. As a member of the Adobe Digital Index team, I predicted that mobile would account for 24% of total online sales on Black Friday, so how close was I? The actual data shows that mobile accounted for 24.2% of total online sales on Black Friday, up 86% YoY from 2011. This means that mobile sales on Black Friday accounted for nearly $1 in every $4 spent, the largest % share of any other day, and merely .2% off of what my team and I originally predicted in our holiday digital index Infograph. (See Figure 1).

So why is mobile producing such a large portion of sales on Black Friday and why did I predict it would drive 21% of online sales this Holiday season? The answer can be found in 3 holiday shopping issues that I ran into personally during my holiday shopping that were resolved with my mobile device.

  1. Availability – some clothes and electronics that I wanted to buy were sold out in the store, but they were available online when I checked on my phone. The sales person helped me with purchasing the item on my phone, and mentioned that the item will be shipped directly to my house, but can still be returned in the store if I am not satisfied. This is a great example of how many Brick-and-Click stores have embraced mobile technology this holiday season by making available additional inventory online.
  2. Showrooming, I did a little of that on Black Friday while purchasing items for family who live out of state. I used the store to look at and compare items and then I purchased them on my smartphone from a different online-only retailer. Doing this I was able to save a little on price and also have the item gift-wrapped and shipped to my family out of state…which can help you to avoid a line at the store and at the post office.
  3. Convenience – my available shopping hours were extended due to mobile devices. It began with some purchasing with my tablet while watching football on Thanksgiving, continued on Black Friday with my phone while out shopping, and extended through Cyber Monday from my couch…again on my tablet.

These 3 things are key factors to the growth of mobile and possible future extension of main holiday shopping days. Holiday sales from a tablet device are growing the fastest, up 100% from last year. With the success of smaller, cheaper tablet devices like the Kindle Fire, iPad mini, and Nook, more and more people will be able to participate in a solid user experience from purchasing on a tablet device. The days of having to shop on Cyber Monday while at work may be altered into a holiday shopping week or weekend of deals targeted at mobile users who are actively engaged. The ease of use of a mobile device in the home and while out shopping begs the question of not if, but when will mobile devices produce a majority share of online sales…2013? 2014? 2020? When do you think mobile devices will overtake traditional PCs?

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