Holiday Online Searches, Purchases Attracting Consumers

by , December 01, 2014

Retail stores capitalized on higher online searches this Thanksgiving holiday season. Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s turned Cyber Monday into Cyber Sunday, beginning online sales a day early, and added free shipping and returns into the mix. Talbots, Neiman Marcus and a host of other stores extended Black Friday deals through Sunday. Most marketing platform providers tracking sales report an uptick in overall Thanksgiving weekend online sales, while a handful of shoppers admit they had no problem finding a space to park at two popular southern California malls.

Consumers took to retail sites to search for goods. Nearly five times more consumers conducted shopping searches on major retail sites on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday 2014, compared with the holiday daily average — in fact, 4.3 times more on Thanksgiving Day, and 4.8 times more on Black Friday, compared with 2013, per HookLogic. Approximately 31% of searches occurred on smartphones. The company analyzed more than four billion shopping searches in November across its network of 20 retail sites like Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and Sears, and compared those with results from prior periods.

Traffic peaked between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving, and again between 11 a.m. and noon EST on Black Friday. Conversion rates and page views resulting in sales, also rose this week — beginning on Monday and doubling up on Thanksgiving Day, per HookLogic, which estimates that between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST, Monday, Dec. 1, will become the busiest hour of online shopping in U.S. history.

Rakuten Marketing reports that Black Friday sales peaked at 11 a.m. ET, up 233% from the bottom at 4 a.m. Forty-eight percent of Black Friday purchases occurred between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. About 8% of revenue from Black Friday across all devices came between midnight and 1 a.m. About 13% of sales occurred by 3 a.m., showing that shoppers in U.S. and Canada began shopping for Black Friday deals late evening on Thanksgiving Day.

Smartphone and tablet devices accounted for 40% of online traffic on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but only accounted for 25% or all online revenue, per data from Rakuten. On smartphones, iOS was the operating system of choice for holiday browsing, accounting for 70% of mobile traffic and 84% of tablet traffic.

Footwear led online Thanksgiving Day sales, up 44% YoY. On Black Friday, sales rose 28% YoY. Footwear sales peaked at 9 p.m., although the highest hours for sales occurred between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., accounting for 41% of Black Friday sales. Perhaps consumers held out for the deals in this category. Ad engagement rates with footwear brands faltered 2% YoY during the week of Thanksgiving. In comparison, the Apparel & Accessories category on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday ad engagement rates rose 57% YoY during the week of Thanksgiving.


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