Q4 is typically a strong quarter for retail. Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday, Hanukkah, and Christmas -- just to name the bigger shopping events -- there are a ton of potential customer touch points on which your brand can capitalize to increase sales and revenue for year end.
Holiday Shopping: More Than Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The holiday shopping craze has grown so dramatically over the past few years that the best deals no longer start on Black Friday, the most infamous of shopping days. According to, which accounts for tens of thousands of online retailers in the U.S., many stores start their discount cycle before Halloween. In October of 2014, online small businesses saw a 29% increase in year-over-year sales for that month alone. November and December followed suit, with 27% and a stark 47% increase in year-over-year sales respectively.
None of this information should be surprising. Big box retailers are looking to get a leg up on their competition during the holiday commerce rush by opening up shop on Thanksgiving to start Black Friday deals a whole day early (considered a taboo business strategy by some). That said, it makes sense that small businesses, especially those with niche and loyal customer bases, would begin touting their holiday discounts earlier and earlier as well.
These stats support what is currently an 8-year high in small business confidence and optimism. The data is also providing some proof that the U.S. appears to have finally climbed out of the recession, as consumers are taking their extra dollars to retail, particularly ecommerce.
Increase in Mobile Commerce
What’s more, though, is that the data shows we're not shopping the same way we did prior to the recession. During the 2014 Cyber Week, which encompasses Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday, small business saw a 79% increase in mobile orders over those made in 2013. Roughly 10% of those sales were made on Thanksgiving Day, a 52% increase in mobile shopping on that particular day from 2013.
All right, you may be thinking, people shop on Thanksgiving. Between all the football games, the food and the family time, a little mobile shopping might just be what many of us need to keep sane. Besides, many stores including Walmart, Target and Kohl’s were open on Thanksgiving to offer Black Friday-like discounts a day early -- and these campaigns were highly publicized.
Fair enough, but before the number is truly dismissed and this innocuous shopping of sorts is drummed up as a ripple effect of the larger retail brands’ holiday campaigns, let’s take a look at Christmas day.
Christmas Day is a nationwide holiday and even Walmart, the big box chain that rarely closes its doors for a holiday, creed or religion, takes the day off. If the public was in throes over stores opening on Thanksgiving, the potential PR repercussions of choosing to do the same on Christmas Day are interesting, to say the least.
And yet, though few U.S. brick-and-mortars are open on Christmas, and though there is relatively little digital activity on that particular day, online shopping increased 33% in 2014 compared to 2013. In all, 36% of total sales on Christmas Day were on mobile and, compared to 2013, that is a 101% increase.
Rise of Innocuous Holiday Shopping
In other words: we see you, smartphone users. Sitting there, avoiding awkward, embarrassing, or enraging family conversations over gifts and get togethers, pretending to be texting or playing games. The data shows that it’s much more likely you’re perusing online stores and actually clicking “Buy.”
Turns out mobile shopping, then, isn’t just a nascent channel and growing opportunity for omnichannel retailers -- data suggests it's already a trending consumer pastime. Well, at least on days when shopping is supposedly taboo.
Originally published Jan 16, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017