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Holiday shopping season kicks off with strong e-commerce orders

By Eric Kulisch / / November 30th, 2015

Consumers continue to migrate to mobile devices to make purchases, with mobile devices accounting for 36 percent of Black Friday sales, according to Custora, a company that provides predictive analytics for e-commerce.

The number of online shoppers are expected to dip slightly on Cyber Monday to 121 million from 127 million, but that figure reflects the fact that consumers now have digital access to holiday deals for many weeks and no longer depend on a single day to capture shopping savings, according to the National Retail Federation.

The same trend is evident at brick-and-mortar stores, where traffic was reportedly lighter on Black Friday because consumers have been taking advantage of discounts offered by retailers leading up to the traditional shopping season. 

Electronic commerce revenues, on the other hand, were up 16.1 percent over Black Friday 2014, driven by e-mail marketing and mobile shopping, according to Custora, a company that provides predictive analytics for e-commerce based on data from more than 200 online retailers. It said retailers were able to grow the top line without having to offer excessive discounts.

That could change in the weeks ahead, however, as industry reports of heavy inventory buildup ahead of the peak shipping season from Asia combined with unseasonably warm weather in the United States suggest that retailers may have to give deep discounts to clear out winter apparel.

Shoppers made more than a third of their purchases (36 percent) on Black Friday using mobile devices, compared with 30.3 percent a year ago. Three-quarters of mobile purchases were made on Apple devices, Custora said. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others) only drove 1.7 percent of sales.

The figures are higher than in the NRF’s eHoliday survey in which 24.4 percent of consumers said they will use their mobile devices to shop on Cyber Monday, with 80 percent saying they will use their home computers to shop online. But mobile retailing continues to grow in importance as more consumers rely on their smartphones and tablets to research products and find gift ideas.

Almost 70 percent of retailers surveyed said they invested in optimizing their mobile websites prior to the holiday season.

Many retailers are also offering free shipping as well as programs designed to entice consumers to buy online and pick up in the store.

These trends have huge implications for the logistics sector as retailers and service providers hustle to revamp their distribution operations to accommodate fast home delivery of single parcel orders combined with large pallet deliveries to stores. - 24/7 Support including Chat

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