By Thanksgiving Day evening shoppers were already grabbing Black Friday bargains, and the click-through rate on Turkey Day was higher than on Black Friday, PriceSpider data shows. What’s more, 56% of online shopping during the Thanksgiving-through-Cyber-Monday rush took place on mobile devices.

Phil Scott, vice president of IT and data services, PriceSpider

Phil Scott, vice president of IT and data services, PriceSpider

The holidays always provide interesting insights (hello, family dinners), but this holiday season PriceSpider gained insights of a different kind. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge online shopping days, and we were able to collect online consumer activity data from the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday shopping rush.

Overall, one of the most interesting (and certainly important) findings was that 56 percent of online shopping took place on mobile devices. For retailers, there’s never been a more important time to have intuitive, consumer-friendly, mobile-optimized sites to drive sales. After all, what better way is there to escape awkward family conversations than staring at your phone?

Back in Black

According to our data, there’s nothing people like more than jumping straight into Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday, the biggest sale day of the year, got an early start with spikes seen at 5 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. PST the day prior, on Thanksgiving Day. Retailers keen on maximizing next year’s revenue should make a note that people were shopping on Thanksgiving Day before and after dinner. In other words, start your Black Friday sales on Thursday!

If you want the biggest bang for your buck, span your sale across both Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Of course, there were those waiting for the clock to strike midnight, signaling the true start of Black Friday, illustrated by another spike in web traffic. Interestingly, the overall Click-Through Rate (CTR) was actually higher by two percent on Thanksgiving proper than it was on Black Friday.


Shopping resumed again on Black Friday morning with a much higher impression volume that peaked at 11 a.m., indicating a 30-40 percent increase during this time period and with the highest conversion taking place at 8 a.m. The conversion rate wasn’t as high as it was on Thanksgiving, but the additional volume more than made up the difference. So, retailers, if you want the biggest bang for your buck, span your sale across both Thanksgiving and Black Friday for optimal results.

Who Said No One Likes a Monday?

Statistically (or at least emotionally) no one likes Mondays. However, Cyber Monday seems like the exception to the rule. Although the sales volume for Cyber Monday was 17 percent lower than on Black Friday, the CTR remained the same, indicating that while there were fewer shoppers online, the purchase intent was the same. It’s also worth noting that many retailers had extended online sales, so online shopping didn’t occur just in this one day.

That being said, there was a 477 percent increase in traffic for Cyber Monday compared to your standard, boring Monday where the entire world wasn’t on sale. Cyber Monday also took the lead with the highest rates of impressions, sales volume and conversion rates for the entire week. (Good on ya, Cyber Monday!)  The day also saw more online sales completed by almost 50 percent, giving it a higher conversion rate, with traffic and sales volume declining slowly throughout the week.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all performed significantly better than Wednesday through Friday. Wednesday through Friday saw higher than average sales compared to non-holiday weekdays, but still noticeably less than Monday as the week progressed.


Looking Ahead

For retailers looking to make the most of next year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, there are a few important data takeaways. For starters, if you want to influence the point of purchase, make sure you’re paying attention to the spikes. From our observations, online shopping doesn’t begin on Black Friday, but on Thanksgiving Day—mostly from mobile devices. Never underestimate the power of staring at screens during family functions, so ensure your website is consumer-friendly!

Both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday see the most online traffic. Launching marketing activations at peak shopping times is also an important strategy—sending a promo code via email or starting online sales at 5 p.m. when customers are ready to make purchases will keep your brand close to mind.

The Cyber Monday shopping frenzy has been quelled a bit by week-long specials and shoppers hoping for further price drops. Keeping deals active only Monday and Tuesday might incentivize a stronger close, as shoppers will know the deals are fleeting.

PriceSpider collects data from thousands of e-commerce sites to provide brand manufacturers insights on what, where, when and how people purchase.