The 2018 Thanksgiving holiday period has been widely reported as an online retail success story. While the number of shoppers and the average spend were both down on 2017, online attained new heights this year. According to Adobe Analytics, sales on Cyber Monday soared to $7.9 billion making it the biggest online shopping day in US history with a 19.7% year-on-year (YoY) increase. Online sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday reached even greater YoY growth achieving 28% and 23.6% respectively. Yet arguably the most notable trend to emerge from the Thanksgiving weekend is the rise of the ‘multi-channel’ shopper.
‘Multi-channel’ shoppers are consumers who choose to use a variety of online platforms combined with off-line brick-and-mortar to make their purchases. According to a joint survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights and Analytics, 89 million Americans shopped both online and in stores over the five-day holiday period, which represents a 40% increase on last year. The NRF reported that more than half (54%) of American shoppers said they had shopped both online and in-store compared to 25% who said they shopped online only and 21% who shopped exclusively in-store.
American consumers are undoubtedly becoming increasingly comfortable shopping across all platforms throughout the long weekend with the ‘multi-channel’ shopper outspending the ‘single-channel’ shopper by an average of up to $93. Because they shop both in-store and online, ‘multi-channel’ shoppers have more touchpoints with the retailers and are therefore more likely to purchase a greater number of products than ‘single-channel’ shoppers.
One of the most significant contributory factors to the rise in the ‘multi-channel’ shopper is the increase in the number of shoppers using mobile devices. According to Adobe, smartphones are driving US holiday shopping traffic, making up 49% of online purchases.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, mobile users spend time away from the home either visiting family or out shopping and are therefore less likely to be using a desktop device. However, while mobile is certainly evolving from a search tool into a purchasing platform, desktops remain significantly more popular when it comes to buying goods, accounting for 61% of online purchases over the holiday period according to Adobe Analytics.
Another important contributory factor to the rise of the ‘multi-channel’ shopper is retailers’ investments in technology. As Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO put it, “This year’s research clearly shows that the investments made by retailers are paying off in a big way.” An example of this is the significant investment retailers have made in ‘buy online, pick up in store’, or BOPIS. BOPIS offers consumers a way of avoiding the crowds and the stress of locating the product in store and also of having to wait at home for delivery. According to Adobe Analytics, over the holiday weekend there was a record 50% increase YoY in BOPIS. The blending of online and offline retail saw retailers with physical stores drive 28% higher conversions online.
At the eBusiness Institute our experts have extensive experience of working with multinationals on their digital transformation. We can help your brand to provide ‘multi-channel’ customers with a seamless, comfortable and efficient service whilst ensuring that the multiple channels strengthen rather than fragment your brand identity.