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?