Holiday shoppers are getting a jumpstart this year and taking advantage of mobile technology, according to a report from digital marketing technology company PointRoll.
The company reported a 14% increase in the number of digital circulars offered by retailers via ShopLocal technology between 2010 and 2011, as well as a 15% increase in page views across the top ten retailers’ websites. But the real magic happened on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (November 20), which saw a 49% spike in Web traffic to online retailers’ sites, as well as a 69% increase in page views.
What does this mean? It means earlier deals and offers lures earlier shoppers and deal hunters. (If you build it, they will come…)
Probably the most noteworthy difference of all this year is the massive increase in iPad usage for holiday shopping. Mobile device usage in general was up 5%, according to PointRoll, but the number of shoppers accessing online offers from their iPads was up a whopping 85% over last year. Again, the Sunday before Thanksgiving saw the most marked spike in usage, with iPad-driven shopping up 223% over last year. Shopping on mobile devices in general was up 234% the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Even those who chose to wait for the traditional kick-off of the holiday shopping season—the day after Thanksgiving—got an early start this year. Historically, PointRoll has found 10 pm EST on Thanksgiving night to be the witching hour for online holiday shopping. But this year, 9 pm EST on Thursday night saw the highest spike in traffic, which remained strong at 10 pm as well.
“Online holiday shopping continues to happen earlier and consumers are now preparing on Sunday rather than waiting until after Thanksgiving dinner to identify the best offers,” said Rob Gatto, CEO of PointRoll, in a statement. “Additionally, consumers are expanding where and how they shop online and in-store while retailers are looking to capitalize with more localized and dynamic, audience targeted offers and advertisements delivered across multiple platforms.”
ComScore reported earlier this week that online shopping so far this holiday season has already reached $9.4 billion, marking a 14% increase over last year’s numbers. ComScore predicts that by the year’s end, online holiday shopping will reach $37.6 billion.
And in testament to the critical importance of free shipping, the research firm found that as many as 47% of consumers said they would bail on an online purchase altogether if they got as far as checkout and found that they had to pay for shipping.
I hope all my favorite retailers are taking note. You think I won’t abandon a shopping cart of you throw a shipping curveball at me? You better believe I will. I will abandon that shopping cart so fast it’ll make your virtual head spin.