You survived! No, you thrived this holiday season! I mean, I sure hope that you did. And if you didn’t quite make the mark, there is always room to grow! And with that, here are some highlights from our Holidays Unwrapped report.

Smartphones for the win!

I mean, if I can’t get it done by using my cell phone, I don’t want to do it. Ok, that is a bit melodramatic. But, we walk around with mini computers in our pockets! Plus, we marketers have been talking about a mobile take over for years. And here it is, smartphones have eclipsed desktop!


Now, I know that I said mobile takeover. This is because largely we have been focused on the mobile experience, meaning smartphones and tablets. While smartphone use has increased in holiday retail purchases, tablets have declined. Case and point, tablet traffic was down YoY falling from 10% in 2017 to 8% in 2018 and Desktop decreased from 44% to 41%.

“Converting mobile traffic to sales has long been a thorn in the side of retailers, but investments in making the experience faster and easier have paid off,” says Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights.

Mobile Marks

Continue a dedicated focus on the smartphone experience. Whether that be through your brand’s app, local SEO, leveraging predictive analytics to facilitate a seamless cross-channel experience (may I suggest all the former), maintain a focus on the smartphone experience.

“Consumers have more access and control than ever before to shop at any time and that’s driving increases in traffic and orders,” says Rob Garf, vice president of industry strategy and insights at Salesforce. “You’re seeing an increase in both (in-store and online shopping) with mobile being the glue that ties it together.”


We can’t talk about holiday without mentioning Amazon. I mean, it is the constant retail elephant in the room. Amazon had the most online sales of any retailer on Black Friday with 24.2% market share. Though, when you sell everything, how is that surprising? However, marketplace sellers won this holiday season too! They increased their sales year over year by 20% on Black Friday. Additionally, U.S. shoppers purchased 180 million more products on Amazon during Cyber Weekend (Thanksgiving – Cyber Monday) compared to last year.

Here are the Cyber Five (new term for Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) by the numbers.

Shopping Trends

  • Top Shopping Days
    • Thanksgiving – $3.7 billion
    • Black Friday – $6.2 billion
    • Small Business Saturday – $3.0 billion
    • Super Sunday – $3.4 billion
    • Cyber Monday – $7.9 billion
    • Cyber Five (Thanksgiving – Cyber Monday/Nov 22-26) – $24.2 billion
      • This period brought in nearly $1 billion more than initially forecasted.

Cyber Five and Making History

Online retailers made Thanksgiving weekend the largest online shopping weekend ever (Nov. 24-25, Sat/Sun) garnering $6.4 billion in sales.

Think about this, for 26 out of 61 days this holiday shopping season (Nov 1 – Dec 31), consumers spent at least $2 billion online. This is an increase of 73% YoY.

Mind Blown Cat

  • Thanksgiving becomes a “true” shopping holiday increasing 28% year over year.
  • Cyber Monday remains ruler of online spending days. While Cyber Monday remained the top shopping day, it had the lowest online sales growth of the Cyber Five.
  • Ecommerce continues to be a customer favorite posting a 19.1% growth rate through Christmas
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, Black Friday remains the #1 day for brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Estimates project total retail holiday sales increased 5.6% YoY going from $681.61 billion in 2017 to $719.77 billion.
  • Ecommerce sales accounted for 16.9% of total retail sales during the 2018 holiday shopping season

“One thing we’re seeing across the board is less of a focus on Black Friday as a ‘day,’ and more sustained demand beginning the day before, lasting through the weekend, and continuing today,” says Matthew Berk, CEO of coffee retailer Bean Box. “This is in contrast to previous years when we saw explicit spikes in demand on both Friday and Monday. It’s more like Black Friday/Cyber Monday is becoming a week-long-ish shopping event.”

Regional Shopping Trends 2018 Holiday
How America Really Shops For The Holidays – The Marketing Insider

Retailers need to lead with meaning. A simple transaction used to build consumer relationships, but no longer. Shoppers want experiences and products/services that connect with them on beyond a personal level, they crave a human connection.

  • Leverage Personalization – 64% of shoppers feel retailers don’t know them
  • Reward Loyalty – loyalty programs lead to 66% of shoppers were more likely to purchase from a brand or retailer
  • Have a Purpose – charitable donations resonate with consumers leading to 45% of shoppers being more likely to buy if the retailer/brand gives a charitable donation

Here’s the thing, like I mentioned in the opening, we carry a little computer around in our pockets…translation, we live online. And what’s more, shoppers are increasingly going online to holiday shop.

We marketers are trained (perhaps subconsciously) to generalize consumer behavior and consumer groups. Don’t do it. Sure, in the past these generalizations seemed like a good way to segment likes and demographics, and largely, it worked. But that was then. Now, this segmentation strategy has the potential to lead to millions in missed revenue.

There is no denying that the Cyber Five (Thanksgiving – Cyber Monday) is considered the crux of the holiday shopping season. However, many retailers are finding that these spending days are becoming less defined. Personalization and ease-of-use keep your customers coming back so don’t take your shoppers for granted.

And don’t just focus on the Cyber Five. Rather, have an always-on strategy that includes revenue for the entire month of December.

Holiday plans are great! YOU NEED A PLAN. But if your plan doesn’t allow you to remain agile, you can’t adjust as you move through the busiest shopping season of the year. Use this post and our holiday report to understand where you have been so you can plan for where you are going.

Because it is all about your audience receiving the right product, with the right message, at the right time, through the right touch points.

“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc. “By combining the right inventory with the right mix of online vs. in-store, many retailers were able to give consumers what they wanted via the right shopping channels.”

Challenge yourself to do better, and cheers to an amazing 2019!