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Black Friday shoppers set records by snapping up deals via their phones

Has Black Friday gone mobile? More shoppers than ever used their phones to scout out deals and click "buy."

Published onDecember 2, 2019

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Did you take advantage of the great Black Friday deals to do a little holiday shopping? If so, chances are pretty good that you did at least some of it from your smartphone.

Consumers spent a bank account-draining $7.4 billion online during Black Friday sales, with a stunning $2.9 billion of it coming via phones. According to a report from Adobe Digital Insights, people used their phones to make 39% of all online purchases — a 21% jump from 2018.

These figures make Black Friday 2019 the single biggest online shopping day ever and the biggest shopping day from mobile phones.

“Black Friday broke mobile shopping records with $2.9 billion spent through smartphones alone,” said Adobe Digital Insights Head and Principal Analyst Taylor Schreiner in a statement. “Consumers increasingly jumped on their phones rather than standing in line. Even when shoppers went to stores, they were now buying nearly 41% more online before going to the store to pick up.”

Shopping versus spending

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The relationship between traffic and revenue is the exact inverse when comparing phones to desktops. For example, smartphone shoppers accounted for 58% of traffic but only 36% of purchases. Meanwhile, desktop shoppers accounted for just 37% of traffic but took in 59% of purchases.

This makes it pretty clear what’s going on: many people are browsing from their phones to find what they want or need, and are then getting up to use their computer to finalize the transaction.

Several reasons could be playing a role here. Without mobile payment services such as Apple Pay or Google Pay properly set up on their phone, some consumers may not have an easy way to complete a sale from their device. Moreover, there’s still plenty of distrust in online and mobile payment services, and surely some people are simply uneasy about buying things from their phone.

Even so, people ponied up an average $168 per phone purchase — up 5.9% from last year for another new record. Only 5% of online traffic and 5% of online sales came from tablets.

Interestingly, the number of people who made purchases online with the intent to pick the items up locally, sometimes called click-and-collect orders, climbed 43% over last year. This method is often employed by large retailers that have solid brick-and-mortar and online sales operations.

Cyber-sleuthing sales numbers

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The previous single-day online shopping record was set on Cyber Monday 2018, when consumers flung $7.9 billion at web retailers. This year’s Black Friday total of $7.4 billion is just under the $7.5 predicted by Adobe, but it’s still highly possible this year’s cyber sales will surpass the latest numbers from Black Friday.

Adobe is confident that Cyber Monday 2019 will see online sales of $9.4 billion, though it didn’t hedge what percentage of that will come from phones. If we carry over the mobile sales of ~40% from Black Friday, we’re looking at a Cyber Monday figure in the neighborhood of $3.75 billion spent from mobile phones. Brick-and-mortar Black Friday sales notched up 4.2%.

Consumers may spend as much as $29 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which will account for 20% of the $143.8 billion total expected for the 2019 holiday season.

Did you use your phone to make purchases on Black Friday? What about Cyber Monday? Did you buy online and then pick up in store? Feel free to shout out below.

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