Cyber Five Shopping Kickoff: ‘Mobile First’ (And Often ‘Mobile Only’)

November 22, 2017

The holiday shopping season is officially here, and all eyes will be watching the numbers pour in over the big “Cyber Five” weekend (a term we use to describe the peak shopping period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday).

This year, we’re going to go out on a (very sturdy) limb and predict record mobile usage (again) this entire holiday season.  As consumers prepare to hit the road in numbers not seen in over a decade, it’s hard to say how many are taking a laptop with them. But it’s very easy to say that they won’t be leaving their smartphones behind.  

At ChannelAdvisor, we saw record levels of mobile traffic and conversions last year with over 50% of conversions on Thanksgiving Day coming from a mobile device (tablet + phone).  Additionally, we saw retailers from Amazon to Walmart to Target reporting record amounts of mobile volume over the Cyber Five weekend.

Deloitte recently released their holiday forecast which we summarized on our blog earlier this month.  The report is loaded with great data, but one area in particular really stuck out to us.  When asked how they plan to use their smartphone for holiday shopping, not surprisingly two out of every three consumers indicated that they would use it to browse online or check and compare prices.  What was striking in the data is that, for the first time, a majority of respondents (59%) said they planned to use their smartphone to make a purchase.  This is a significant increase from the 43% who said the same thing last year.  

This increase signals that more and more consumers are comfortable not just browsing but buying from their phones. And when you combine that willingness to purchase on mobile devices with compelling “BUY NOW” holiday deals, consumers will do just that.

We have chronicled in the past how several e-commerce trends have migrated from China to the West (Singles Day > Prime Day being an example).  “Double 11,” as it is often referred to, took place on November 11, and in addition to record-setting amounts of commerce generated, mobile was clearly the winner in terms of device.  In fact, a whopping 90% of GMV was processed via mobile device in 2017.  China provides a model of what a “mobile first” — and, in many cases, “mobile only” — e-commerce economy looks like.

While it would be very surprising to hit numbers as big as these this week, we’re confident that holiday shoppers will be increasingly reaching for their phones to check out all the deals out there.  

We’ll follow up next week, once the dust settles, and share how much of an increase we saw this year in mobile traffic and conversions.  Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget your phone!