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Majority Of Shoppers Searched, Spent On Mobile Over Thanksgiving Weekend

In-store sales totaled a not-shabby $12.1 billion, but analysts suspect that this year’s holiday season will be a marathon — not a sprint — for physical retailers.

Over 151 million people shopped online or in stores over Thanksgiving Weekend and spent a per person average of $299.60, according to the National Retail Federation — and a surge in mobile shopping made up for the bulk of the growth since 2014.

IBM reported that smartphones were this year’s device of choice for browsing deals, accounting for nearly 45 percent of total traffic — an unsurprising statistic, as both consumer reliance on mobile and marketer spending on the channel has continued to grow.

In terms of physical sales, 74 million shoppers hit brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday indicating that, despite speculation around the day’s decreasing importance, the “Super Bowl” of shopping days still brought in a hefty chunk of change for retailers. That said, ShopperTrak reports that the amount spent in stores — an estimated $ 12.1 billion over Thanksgiving and Black Friday — might be less than the total for 2014.

Still, as ShopperTrak executive Kevin Kearns told CNN, that doesn’t mean Black Friday was a bust for retailers.

“This year, we saw Black Friday ads emerge before Halloween,” Kearns said, and in-store sales were bigger in the days leading up to Black Friday, “which is a result of retailers successfully elongating the holiday season.”

In other words, the major lesson from this year’s Black Friday may be that consumers are as eager to spend over the holidays as ever, but new tactics can help brick-and-mortar retailers make the most of the season — and look forward 2016. To wit:

  • Millennials are the biggest Black Friday shoppers: The demographic has matured into one with major purchasing power, and the NRF reported that Millennials did the most in-store shopping — despite their reputation for thinking online-only. Targeting Millennials with relevant offers in-store — as well as with ads ahead of critical shopping days — is only increasing in importance.
  • Think by season, not by day: Black Friday isn’t going anywhere. But as Kearns pointed out, many customers are now thinking of holiday shopping as a marathon — not a sprint. Beginning ad campaigns earlier might stretch the season out, but sustaining that effort — and not putting all the eggs in the Black Friday basket — will help physical retailers rake in more dollars.
  • Location, location, location: By now, most retailers have an inkling that mobile is important, particularly when it comes to reaching younger shoppers both in-store and on the go. That said, location targeted offers look to be increasingly effective; with so many shoppers browsing products on their phone, a relevant, location-based offer may be all it takes to drive them to a store nearby.
About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.