Why stand in a line when you can buy online.
Days of camping outside a retail location to get the best deals on Black Friday could be over.
Hopefully those days are over.
You know why they call it Black Friday? Historically the day after Thanksgiving is the day that retail stores went into the “black” for the year, turning positive balance sheets all the way till New Year’s Eve. It is the official start of the holiday shopping season and stores will do just about anything to spur a binge buying spree.
In 2015, the holiday rush does not necessarily need to start on Black Friday. Or even on “Cyber Monday” or really any specific day. The power and ubiquity of modern computers make timing irrelevant. A recent study of holiday shopping habits by Google shows that every day is now a shopping day. Around 30% of all online shopping is now done on mobile devices and Google says that customers prefer to shop in moments rather than battle with other people for the perfect gift.
Foot Traffic and Online Traffic
Retailers who rely on a steady stream of people through their doors over the holiday season— which starts on Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Eve—may need to rethink their strategy. The Google study said that 54% of all customers would be shopping on their smartphones when they have time to do so and 61% of shoppers have already started buying or researching holiday gifts.
In the last 12 months there has been a 120% increase in shopping-related searches on Google. In the past, retailers could rely on certain spikes from October to December—Black Friday and Cyber Monday in particular. Google said that there is a steady interest in “gifts and presents” during that period which increases around these dedicated shopping days, but the fact is that mobile has changed the way we shop.
Customers increasingly want seamless experiences and retailers that can provide an omnichannel journey are reaping the benefits. Around 82% of smartphone users will look at their device for inspiration within a bricks-and-mortar location and Macy’s has found omnichannel customers to be eight times more valuable than single channel shoppers, Google said.
The Moment To Buy
Instead of deciding when to buy, customers prefer to buy in a specific moment. Google said that Sunday is the most popular day of the week for mobile shopping—18% higher than other days—and the 24/7 nature of the Web allows shoppers to buy when they want.
Irrespective of whether or not every day is a chance to splash the cash, there are still those who prefer the conventional way of holiday spending. For the dedicated holiday bargain hunter, a survey by discount website Gottadeal.com said that the night before Thanksgiving was now very popular with shoppers, with a noticeable increase in the quality and quantity of bargains.
Online shoppers usually started their gift buying after eating a Thanksgiving dinner, said Gottadeal owner Brad Olson, in a press release.
“We’re trying to let them know that most of the online Black Friday sales will actually begin on Wednesday night, so they should be in front of a computer, tablet or smartphone getting ready,” Olson said. “We hear from visitors every year who woke up on Thanksgiving Day only to discover the best deals had sold out.”
The winner in the battle for holiday eyeballs and customer spending is going to be Amazon. A survey conducted by market research company Ipsos on behalf of Reuters found that 51% of respondents would do the majority of their shopping online through the ecommerce giant and 8% said that they would only be shopping online in 2015. To put that former figure into context, Wal-Mart was next on the list with a response rate of 16% while Target only got the thumbs up from 3% of online shoppers.
“Amazon can focus on online sales because it doesn’t need to worry about getting customers into physical stores,” said Needham & Co. analyst Kerry Rice, in an interview with Reuters.
Although online mobile shopping is certainly beginning to dominate in ecommerce as a whole, retailers are more than aware that offering deals around the clock is vital throughout the holiday season. USA Today reports that with a week to go until Black Friday, major retailers have begun dropping their prices on selected items. Best Buy, Costco and, unsurprisingly, Amazon are offering significant discounts on electronics already although the door busters will still be reserved for those who want to shop on the day itself, the news source said.