Research shows increasing power of smartphones in driving holiday sales

Black Friday is a big deal, regardless of whether you’re a consumer or a retailer. Astute shoppers get to enjoy deep discounts (and maybe even viral fame), while retailers see what is typically one of the most lucrative shopping days of the year. No matter which side of the equation you’re on, the kickoff to the holiday shopping season is always an exciting time.

But this year will mark a sea change for Black Friday shopping that every retailer should be keenly aware of — Black Friday 2017 is expected to be the biggest-ever mobile shopping day in the United States, according to a new report by AppAnnie. The study estimates that mobile and app-based shopping for Black Friday this year will rise by a stunning 45 percent compared to 2016.

According to AppAnnie, consumers will spend more than 6 million hours in the top five digital-first apps (representing e-commerce retailers like Amazon and Etsy). Strong growth in mobile shopping is similarly expected for brick-and-mortar businesses like Target, Kohls, and the Home Depot.

Increase in mobile retail correlates strongly with inbound call volume

This news comes shortly after a separate report published by Adobe earlier in November, which predicts that — for the first time — mobile devices will account for a larger share of visits to retail sites than desktops during this year’s holiday shopping season. That same report also predicts a 14 percent year-over-year growth in online holiday sales for 2017, bringing total online sales during this period over the $100 billion mark for the first time ever.

Other takeaways from the Adobe report include some great tips for savvy shoppers:

  • Thanksgiving will be the best day for deals on clothing, tools, sporting goods, computers, and videogames
  • Black Friday is ideal for buying appliances, jewelry, TVs, and tablets
  • Cyber Monday will be the best day to purchase children’s toys

Here at CallRail we’re keen observers of the latest trends in retail, so these developments are exciting for us and our users. These new reports also track closely with our own reporting, which shows huge year-over-year increases for call volume around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to CallRail internal data, call volume for Black Friday more than doubled between 2015 and 2016, totaling a 107 percent increase. Similarly, call volume for Cyber Monday more than doubled between 2015 and 2016, increasing by nearly 111 percent. (We’re expecting to see similar year-over-year increases for 2017 once the numbers come in; stay tuned!)

Marketers take note: Mobile purchase journeys make calling easier

Taken together, all of this data and reporting points to a simple truth that anyone operating in online retail should understand — mobile devices and phone calls have become integral to the retail experience, and their dominance will only increase in the coming years.

Indeed, our internal data suggests that phone calls make up a significant part of the purchasing journey, even for e-commerce sales. We see that consumers appreciate the ease and convenience of making a purchase on mobile, but still want the flexibility of being able to talk to a real human being when it comes to addressing their customer service or troubleshooting needs.

For retailer marketers already focused on mobile, it’s hard to overstate the benefits that come with adding call tracking technology to your marketing toolkit. Not only can it help you properly attribute the marketing channel that drove a call, but advanced analytics features like Keyword Tracking can provide a full-spectrum view of their search history and browser activity — data that’s truly invaluable in a retail landscape dominated by e-commerce and mobile.

Many marketers expect the continuing rise of mobile retail to transform text messaging the same way it has for calls. We’ve taken note of this trend here at CallRail, and have invested heavily in software that ties text message interactions to the marketing channels and content that drives them.

By riding the mobile wave and staying on top of these latest trends, your online retail business will earn more sales and gain a decisive edge over your competitors.

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