Black Friday Reveals Mobile Only Ecommerce Channel Growing Year-Over-Year

Smartphones continue to drive traffic and revenue during peak holiday shopping times, and this “Black Five-day” period was no exception.

1. Mobile is the only ecommerce channel growing year-over-year.

Year-Over-Year Traffic

Black Friday YoY traffic


  • Mobile traffic increased every day over Black Friday weekend compared to last year
  • Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday saw over 20% year-over-year increases
  • Desktop either decreased or stayed relatively the same over the entire period

“Consumer behavior is rapidly changing. Retailers who don’t seize the traffic opportunity on mobile are sitting ducks.” Amanda Naso, Business Intelligence Manager, Mobify

Year-Over-Year Revenue

YoY revenue chart black friday
  • Mobile is the only ecommerce channel that saw year-over-year revenue growth
  • Year-over-year mobile revenue increased over 30% the Wednesday before Thanksgiving
  • On average, year-over-year mobile revenue increased 19% and desktop revenue decreased 6%

Key takeaways

Mobile was the only online channel that saw year-over-year growth this Black Friday weekend, proving that retailers who create a truly mobile-first experience will be the ones that will thrive in 2018.

Responsive will no longer cut it as mobile-first because it’s not designed with the mobile user’s context in mind. Mobile-first experiences need to be fast to hold the shopper’s attention, they need to feel like they belong on a phone (we refer to this as “app-like”), and they need to have timely and relevant customer engagement. All of these things are possible with a Progressive Web App (PWA). PWAs provide an app-like experience for your much larger audience on the web, as well as 2-4x increases in performance. Scheduled and triggered push notifications, the ability to install the web app on the home screen, and the ability to browse while offline enable a much more engaging experience than a typical responsive website.  

2. Shoppers are turning to their phones first thing in the morning.

Share of Mobile Traffic by Day of the Week and Time of Day

Total Mobile Traffic black friday chart
  • Share of mobile traffic was more than 50% for the majority of “Black Five-day”
  • Share of mobile traffic surpassed 60% the morning of Thanksgiving and Black Friday
  • The only days that the share of mobile traffic was below 50% were the traditional work days (Wednesday and Monday)

“Consumers are opting out of the physical hustle and bustle and moving more toward what’s easier: shopping on a couch.” Linda Bustos, director of merchant strategy at e-commerce platform provider Workarea

Key Takeaways

No question about it, mobile is definitely winning when it comes to traffic.

The share of mobile traffic was highest in the mornings. It seems the first thing people do when they wake up is check their phone (no surprises here – this behavior was especially apparent Thanksgiving and Black Friday when many had the opportunity to stay in bed a bit longer).

If you haven’t already planned to, this would be a good time to send promotions next year. Email inboxes are flooded at this time of year because all retailers are doing the same thing, so opt for a less noisy channel like push notifications. The message will appear right on your customers’ lock screens the same way a notification would from a text.

To make sure this mobile traffic turns into mobile revenue, your mobile website needs to be really fast – the average interaction time with a phone is 38 seconds according to Luke Wroblewski, Product Director at Google. If the purchase can’t be completed within that time frame it’s at risk.

On traditional work days (Wednesday and Monday) the share of mobile goes down, likely because people are sitting at their desk and using their desktop instead.

Total Number of Mobile Sessions by Day of the Week and Time of Day

Session share chart

When we looked at absolute numbers, not taking desktop into account, we saw similar trends. Traffic got heavy on mobile as soon as people started waking up – especially on Black Friday. There was a lull between lunch and dinner time on Thanksgiving day as people were probably focused on cooking and spending time with their family. And Cyber Monday spiked at the end of the day as shoppers turned to their phones to find last minute deals.

3. Mobile devices are not just for “pre-shopping” activities.

Mobile Session Heatmap

Session heatmap image
  • Mobile sessions were high through “Black Five-day”
  • Traffic was at an all-time high the morning of Black Friday and the evening of Cyber Monday

Mobile Revenue Heat Map

  • Mobile began to increase at 7 am on Thanksgiving
  • It was even higher throughout the day on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • The biggest jump in mobile revenue came after 6 pm on Cyber Monday

“Shoppers looking for discounts are getting better at using smartphones to quickly close the deal, and we are seeing better mobile conversion this season at over 10% growth.” Mickey Mericle, VP of marketing and customer insights at Adobe

Key takeaways

We’re seeing more mobile traffic turn into mobile revenue, but there’s a big opportunity to convert more traffic. Shoppers are using their mobile devices for a variety of activities – research, price comparisons, reviews, etc. but the assumption that it’s just for “pre-shopping” needs to change. A fast, app-like experience that facilitates an easy mobile checkout can turn these “pre-shopping” activities into an actual purchase.  

We see evidence of this throughout Black Friday and the evening of Cyber Monday when much of that mobile traffic translated to mobile revenue; however, consumers are divided in how they shop. First thing on Black Friday was popular – these people likely did their research before the deals started, and knew exactly what they wanted when they woke up in the morning. The shoppers who waited until the evening of Cyber Monday are likely more price-conscious and researched the best deals over the course of the weekend, only purchasing once they were sure they were getting the best value.

Mobile dominated traffic on Black Friday 2017. Click To Tweet

Like last year, the big story this holiday is mobile. As mobile traffic continues to dominate, the retailers with great mobile experiences will be the most successful. But not only this – retailers who neglect mobile commerce will find it difficult to survive beyond the next few years.

Findings based on 27 million sessions

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