Black Friday Online Shopping by the Numbers

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

It’s hard to believe that the hype of Black Friday is already over, but it is. Now it’s time to look at the numbers--and record-breaking they were. While the stores were certainly not exempt from long lines and mayhem, the numbers show that more shoppers took advantage of major discounts online from their computers and smartphones.

Mobile Traffic Outpaced PC Traffic

Black Friday online shopping sales broke new records this year, according to data from IBM. Mobile traffic outpaced PC traffic for the first time ever, further reminding businesses that a mobile optimized website and strong online presence is a necessity.

Taking a closer look at the numbers, IBM found that on Thanksgiving Day, browsing on smartphones and tablets accounted for 52.1% of all online traffic. Online sales were up that day by 14.3% compared to last year. With the ease of online browsing, it’s easy for people to pull out their mobile devices and shop for the latest deals, whether they’re sitting at Grandma’s or traveling across the state.

Other Trends from Thanksgiving 2014

Retailers are catching up to what online shoppers are looking for by engaging customers, identifying their unique preferences and offering attractive deals. Buyers can also be recommended other items that are related to their purchase, allowing them to do more in one shopping trip and take advantage of free shipping offers and other discounts.

IBM also noted that Thanksgiving shopping is no longer reserved for the day after Thanksgiving--or even after a Thanksgiving meal. Shopping is increasingly getting pushed back into Thanksgiving Day. New York City was the top location for Black Friday shopping, with users spending an average of $121.91. Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago followed after.

PayPal Reports Similar Findings

PayPal also saw similar trends in terms of mobile growth. There was a 43% global increase in the number of customers shopping through PayPal on Thanksgiving compared to last year. Fashion was the top mobile shopping category with electronics following after. However, the gap was big, with fashion driving twice as much.

While mobile shopping is certainly on a sharp rise, computers are not dead. In fact, shoppers who did buy off their computer spent 16.6% more than mobile shoppers. This could be the result of easier navigation and optimized websites that make browsing and purchasing easier. If there’s one lesson to be learned here, it’s that you should have a mobile-optimized website to increase sales and ROI.

About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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