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Black Friday Results Reveal Online Trends for this Holiday Season

The results are in for this year’s Black Friday, as well as insight into this year’s hottest online shopping trends.

Black Friday sales were up by 15.9% from last year and spending per order increased by 12.1% according to Coremetrics, which collects data directly from the web sites of more than 500 retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Petco. While the increase of sales is good news, it was lower than what was previously anticipated.

However, ShopperTrak reported that sales for the first two weeks of November increased by 6.1% from last year. Many websites, such as Amazon.com, began promotions well before Black Friday to lure early shoppers. This strategy resulted in higher overall sales for the month of November and lower than expected sales on Black Friday.

November 25 is often referred to as Black Friday as it is the busiest day of the year for retailers. Oftentimes, a business’s performance on this day can mean the difference of it reporting a profit or loss for the entire year – “being in the black” means recording a profit.

Holiday Online Shopping Trends Revealed

1. Customers know what they want.

Consumers are focused on what they want when searching for the best deals. After reviewing the survey and research results of NPD Group, Coremetrics, and ShopperTrack, it can be confirmed that consumers are taking their time this year in deciding which item to purchase for their family and friends and then browsing several sites for the best deal before making the purchase.

  • NPD Group, a market research company, found that 62% of their survey respondents said that they are doing their homework before making a purchase, of which nearly 50% are doing this homework through online researching.
  • Coremetrics found that people are viewing 18% fewer products on websites than they did last year and advises that these individuals are browsing with a certain product in mind.
  • ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin says, “… American shopper has adapted to the economic climate over the last couple of years and is possibly spending more wisely as the holiday season begins.”

2. Searching social networking sites for deals.

Consumers are reviewing their favorite brands’ social networking site in order to get the latest information on deals and offers. Even though the number of people using social network sites is only about 1% of online users, as reported by Coremetrics, keep an eye on this trend as it can be a game changer next year.

3. Using mobile phones to purchase online.

Phones played an important role this year for both brick-and-mortar and online stores. Consumers used apps on Black Friday to strategically decide on where to shop and verify that the deals in the store are better than what can be found online. Online retailers experienced a 5.6% increase of mobile users on Black Friday, according to Coremetrics, which was a 27.7% increase from the Friday before. Using mobile phones to make purchases has been an increasing trend throughout the year, and is expected to grow in the upcoming years as well.

4. Purchasing Gift Cards.

The NPD Group surveyed consumers about gift cards and found that 34% of those surveyed plan to purchase gift cards. They found that 22% of females are not likely to shop on particular online stores if a gift card option is not available. Most online stores that offer gift cards provide the buyer with an option to print the gift card to give to the receipient or send the recipient an e- mail with the gift card code. If the website has physical stores, then the site will also offer shoppers the option to purchase a plastic gift card and mail it to the recipient.

The Online Holiday Shopping Trends

This holiday season online retailers are expected to experience higher sales than last year, with customers becoming more likely to research products beforehand, search social networking sites to find deals, use mobile phones to make purchases and buy gift cards instead of products.