Time was, Cyber Monday was a big deal in the shopping holiday mainly because people's work PCs were the best place to use “broadband” to shop online after their Thanksgiving break. Now, people are reaching for their smart phones and tablets at work instead, as shopping on mobile devices is taking over Cyber Monday, and turning the retail world inside out.
Nearly every major retailer is overhauling their websites so they load rapidly, and work smoothly on smart phones and tablets. And retailers have reason to covet every dollar this season.
U.S. retail spending during the four-day Black Friday weekend dipped nearly 3 percent, the first sales decline during the first official holiday shopping weekend in at least seven years, according to data released Sunday from the National Retail Federation.
That puts a bright spotlight on where the growth is — and this year, that's mobile.
Already, Black Friday sales on mobile reached 21.8 percent of total online sales, an increase of nearly 43 percent year-over-year, according to IBM's Digital Analytics Benchmark report. And mobile shoppers weren't stingy with their credit cards at hand, as the average shopper using a cell phone spent $115 and the average tablet shopper spend $133.
On average, retailers sent 37 percent more alerts about deals to mobile devices – during the two-day period over Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday when compared to daily averages over the past two months. Average daily retail app downloads also grew by 23 percent using the same comparison.
As for advice for retailers and shoppers, there's this: Get to know Pinterest as opposed to Facebook. IBM found that Facebook may be generating more referrals than Pinterest, but on average, holiday shoppers referred from Pinterest on Black Friday spent 77 percent more per order than shoppers referred from Facebook. ($92.51 vs. $52.30.)
Meanwhile, the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, found mobile traffic made up more than half (53 percent) of its holiday online traffic so far, which is up 22 percent. And it may only go up from there. The National Retail Federation forecast a 22 percent increase in use of mobile this year versus last year.
That's not to say some retailers are seamless with their online versus mobile versus bricks-and-mortar systems. Target, for instance, promoted several items online for Cyber Monday, including the Razor “Berry Scooter,” but instead of selling the item online, Target's system says “Currently unavailable online.”