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How Do Mobile Trends Change For the Holidays?

A guide for retail marketers

It’s no secret that mobile adoption and user engagement is on the rise, but what exactly can we expect from consumers this year as the holidays take over?

As retailers find new ways to connect with their audience on mobile devices, we’re beginning to see their hard work pay off. In fact, half of all holiday web traffic and 31% of holiday retails sales came from mobile devices in 2016, and mobile e-commerce sales are expected to rise to 35% in 2017. Online shopping has become a staple of the holiday season, and user engagement in online sales and promos during this lucrative time of year can account for a large chunk of a business’s yearly profits.

Where’s All the Action?

Although many industries such as health, beauty, food, and drugs display impressive results, apparel and high-tech industries are bearing the majority of the holiday mobile purchasing activity, followed by housewares and home furnishings.

According to data obtained from Luth Research’s ZQ Intelligence, Amazon stormed ahead in 2016’s holiday mobile shopping race. The e-commerce giant received more than double the number of site visitors and almost four times the number of site visits than the second most popular store for mobile shopping: Walmart. The next most popular sites were Target, ebay, Groupon, and Best Buy.

Other statistics from the 2016 holiday season show that, while 85% of Millennials use mobile devices in store, it’s ultimately Generation X that spends the most with e-commerce. By improving the mobile experience, retailers could better engage Millennials so they are encouraged to use their mobile devices not just to research holiday purchases, but to actually make them.

What’s more, the Android operating system’s share continues to grow year over year. According to a 2016 retail trend report, 24.3% of mobile purchases come from devices running Google’s Android OS, with 74.5% of purchases coming from a device with Apple’s iOS. The competition is sure to heat up this year as we approach the holiday season.

What’s Most Effective?

By using the power of email marketing, push notifications, and social media campaigns, consumer engagement has been rapidly increasing. A 2016 study of the holiday shopping period revealed that 22% of consumers prefer to be emailed directly by retailers with product offers and promotions. Only 5% of survey participants liked receiving holiday deals through push notifications, making it the least favorite source of all.

This is particularly surprising, as research from previous years has shown that push messaging trumps email marketing by a 50% higher open rate. These notifications convert looky-loos to paying customers at a much higher rate than any other method of stimulating user engagement, and have become the industry standard for acquiring and retaining users. With a past conversion frequency of 1200% more than email marketing during the holidays, clearly the key to push notifications is to use them wisely to reap the rewards without frustrating consumers.

What Times Are Most Effective?

Sending out notifications on the second and third Thursdays before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday before Cyber Monday seems to generate the most activity, proving that early action is key to getting and keeping consumers engaged.

In terms of shopping days, mobile has transformed the post-Christmas and New Year’s rushes into a more consistent and lengthy holiday shopping experience for consumers. As smartphone users begin to adopt mobile shopping activities over brick-and-mortar businesses and desktop computer browsing, the ability to purchase with just a few clicks takes over. Easily accessing deals at the touch of a button at any time throughout the day has led shoppers to begin expecting those holiday deals to be offered at all times, and all season long.

Mobile trends show that consumers these days expect to be warmed up in advance of the holiday season, and marketed to reliably throughout those months. This substantial rise in mobile engagement over the last few years should be enough to encourage any business to move to a mobile marketing strategy during the holidays (if not year round) and ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly and promotions are being translated effectively across all devices.  

Category: Market Research
Tags: Holidays, Mobile trends

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