Cyber Five Mobile Recap

November 29, 2016

And we’re off! The Cyber Five kickoff to the holiday season is behind us, and a key takeaway is the continuing evidence that shoppers prefer to shop on their own terms: anytime, anywhere and on any device. As we mentioned in our post yesterday, mobile is the big winner for the Cyber Five with nearly 73% of traffic on the ChannelAdvisor platform coming through mobile devices (a big jump from 2015’s 62%) and 46% of orders (versus 2015’s 40%).

Highlights from the Cyber Five mobile data:

  • Smartphone conversion rate for the Cyber Five, which has historically been flat, is up 8.5% year  over year, from 2.19% in 2015 to 2.38% in 2016
  • Mobile percentage of orders and traffic peaked on Thanksgiving Day
  • For Cyber Monday, desktop traffic and orders picked up again as shoppers returned to work


The most interesting news for this Cyber Five is that we hit the “mobile tipping point,” where more orders occurred via mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) than via desktops. We saw this trend on Thanksgiving Day, and the holiday weekend was within 2 percentage points of having that majority as well.


We’re seeing some interesting trends in consumer behavior that are particularly evident when you compare year-over-year trends for the full Cyber Five. Each year mobile traffic and orders climbed steadily over the prior year, though the trajectory is roughly the same year over year.

mobile_share_of_traffic_for_cyber_five     mobile_share_of_orders_for_cyber_fiveLast year we talked about the “mobile moment,” as there was a 104% y/y increase in traffic from smartphones. In 2015 the percentage of orders via smartphones were also up 125% over the prior year.

While the year-over-year jumps aren’t quite as dramatic this year, we still saw an impressive 28% y/y increase for smartphone traffic, and a nearly 29% increase in y/y orders via smartphones.

For the past several years that ChannelAdvisor has tracked mobile conversion rates, smartphone conversion rates have hovered around the 1.8% to 2.1% range, though smartphone traffic has continuously increased. Getting shoppers to commit to buy online is an industry-wide challenge that has seen retailers pouring money into mobile sites, custom apps, improved checkout experiences and retargeting campaigns.

This year, it may all finally be paying off. As mentioned above, we’ve been excited to see the conversion rate for smartphone traffic jump by 8.5%, from 2.19% in 2015 to 2.38% in 2016.

Based on the results we’re seeing, retailers should focus on a few key areas for the rest of the holidays and for 2017 planning:

  1. Think mobile first.  Too many retailers spend time perfecting their desktop site and ignoring how to make their mobile site speedy and easy to use on a phone.  Retailers should adopt mobile-oriented payment methods that reduce the burden on consumers, like Apple Pay, PayPal, etc.  And, of course, nothing gets you better exposure to mobile than selling on marketplaces!  If you’re not well diversified across Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and other marketplaces, put that on your 2017 To Do list ASAP!
  2. Free shipping.  Stop debating — start shipping for free.  It’s what consumers expect.
  3. Fast shipping.  Consumers increasingly expect their products to arrive within a day or two.  If you can’t do that yourself, find a logistics partner who can help you.

Overall, the holiday season is off to an exciting start with mobile leading the way early in the season. Stay tuned to the blog for more information on what we’re watching this holiday season.