Thanksgiving Day served up the highest revenue increase of holiday 2017, while early birds flocked to pre-season deals, according to data from Workarea Commerce.

Linda Bustos, director of merchant strategy, Workarea Commerce

Linda Bustos, director of merchant strategy, Workarea Commerce

Holiday 2017 marked the year of the early mobile shopper. 

Despite a modest increase in pre-Thanksgiving November traffic of 5% year-over-year, revenue increased 20% for more than 300 e-commerce websites tracked by Workarea Commerce. Mobile transactions and revenue jumped 50% and 46%, respectively. Year-over-year numbers are adjusted to account for Thanksgiving falling one day earlier in 2017.

2017’s early mobile shopping trend is in line with survey results from Facebook IQ that found mobile-first shoppers begin their holiday buying sooner than shoppers who shop primarily in-store or through desktop.

Thanksgiving Day shopping

Although Thanksgiving Day attracted only 1% more visitors than 2016, conversion rate rose 5% and revenue increased 32% (39% on mobile) thanks to early Black Friday Deals.  

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That shows Black Friday is no longer the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, and customers know it. Online buyers are taking advantage of marketers’ aggressive early promotions, and are increasingly comfortable with using mobile devices to respond to offers anywhere, any time.

Although mobile conversion rate fell 8% on Black Friday compared to 2016, mobile revenue rose 17.5% thanks to a 13% bump in mobile traffic and 14% jump in average order value.

Cyber Monday desktop revenue share (65%) fell in line with Adobe’s overall holiday desktop revenue share forecast of 66%. However, Black Friday desktop revenue share fell short of Adobe’s holiday average at 55%. As expected, mobile in-store use contributed to mobile’s 57% traffic share on Black Friday and 37% revenue share, exceeding Adobe’s forecast mobile revenue share of 26%.

Black Friday Cyber Monday 2017

Cyber Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) site traffic and order volume dipped 20% and 50%, respectively, with weekend revenue averaging 54% of Black Friday and 45% of Cyber Monday sales.

The data shows that online shoppers hold out for Cyber Monday, expecting to find the best deals of the year on that day. To keep momentum through Cyber Weekend, retailers should plan exclusive Saturday and Sunday deals, promote them well in advance by email and in real-time through social channels as on-the-go, weekend mobile users check less inbox email and engage with social networks.

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Despite mobile’s gains, Holiday 2017’s most consistent trend was decreased tablet traffic and engagement. Pre-Thanksgiving (November 1-21) traffic dropped 11%, with Cyber Week and Christmas Day taking the biggest hits, down 17% and 20% respectively.

consumers tiring of tablets?

The downward trend suggests the novelty of tablet shopping is wearing off, as smartphone screens get larger and retailers consistently deliver better mobile shopping experiences.

Throughout the year, we’ve observed tablet traffic and revenue share consistently fall in the single digits, between 7-9%, and this held steady throughout the 2017 holiday season. We don’t anticipate tablet use to surge in 2018 or beyond, rather stay steady or decrease.

For this reason, we advise retailers using responsive design to prioritize design and content strategies for mobile and desktop, and allow tablet experiences to either scale down from desktop or to scale up from mobile. Tablet apps and tablet-specific optimizations are low priority unless traffic and revenue exceed 25%.

Workarea Commerce is the e-commerce platform introduced in February 2017 by technology provider Weblinc.

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