Nov 21 2013
Basis Technologies

Will it be a Mobile First Cyber-Monday?


Two years before the iPhone and five years before any of us had a tablet, coined the term Cyber Monday to describe the Monday after Thanksgiving as the online side of the Black Friday retail shopping surge. A 2005 press release explained that consumers were expected to head online in droves on Cyber Monday during work hours (where many had stable Internet connections) to take advantage of sales and holiday specials. That year, consumers spent north of $484 million in e-commerce on Cyber Monday. Fast-forward to 2012, where consumers spent $1.4B on Cyber Monday –over three times what they spent in 2005. It was the heaviest spending day in U.S. e-commerce history!

While Cyber Monday historically has been used to describe the online side of the retail shopping surge, the rise of connectivity and mobile devices is quickly blurring the lines between the traditional retail-focused Black Friday and online-focused Cyber Monday definitions. For example, last year was the first year that e-commerce sales broke $1B on Black Friday and many expect the lines to continue to blur.  In fact, Adobe predicts that within five years, Thanksgiving Day could surpass Black Friday in online sales. Today’s shopping experience is increasingly becoming  an omni-channel one, where innovative retailers are creating seamless shopping experiences across mobile, desktop, brick and mortar, television, etc.

While e-commerce (specifically on Cyber Monday) is expected to break records in 2013, the growth in mobile may be the real story. Last year was the first time Cyber Monday purchases made from at-home devices exceeded those made at work. This was largely attributed to mobile devices.  This year, mobile optimized retailers are expected to transact more than 20% of their holiday shopping via smartphones and tablets (a nearly 50% YOY growth). Today’s consumers are more connected than ever, using mobile devices to shop, compare prices and take advantage of sales and specials. In fact, 68% of shoppers intend to use their smartphones while holiday shopping.

The growth in mobile has resulted in traditional, online and flash retailers preparing for a big 2013 holiday season with mobile-first strategies. For example:

  • Macy’s is positioning much of its holiday shopping experience around the mobile app, which allows consumers to view the retailer’s Black Friday specials and create customized and sharable shopping lists.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue has built an integrated experience that involves users engaging with holiday window displays by designing their own snowflake and then adding it to existing snowflakes on the store’s window display.
  • Gilt is building personalized “flash sales,” anticipating nearly 80% of their holiday shopping sales will be sourced through mobile purchases.
  • Fashion merchant Cache reported that it has recognized that even email on mobile devices can play an important role in the holiday shopping strategy, as 70% of their shoppers view the retailer’s email promotions on their mobile devices.

With mobile playing such a prominent role in this upcoming holiday shopping season, it’s important for retailers to have sound holiday and mobile strategies.