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Black Friday data reveals mcommerce is popular purchase mechanism

November 30, 2010

0407-paypal-image-finalData reveals that many more shoppers relied on mobile for purchases, convenience and deals on Black Friday, with PayPal seeing a 310 percent increase in mobile shopping that day.

Retail giant eBay also reported an increase in mobile shopping on Black Friday. This year, eBay’s suite of mobile applications nearly doubled their sales over Black Friday 2009. Globally, eBay Mobile is on track to nearly triple its sales over last year.

“The tough economy has made shoppers more price-conscious and this year’s Black Friday results show that they’re going online to find the best deals,” said Amanda Pires, senior director at PayPal, Palo Alto, CA.

“With the convenience of shopping from a laptop or mobile phone, more people are choosing to avoid the long lines, parking chaos and early morning rush in exchange for great online deals available from the comfort of their homes,” she said.

PayPal and mobile
Starting in holiday 2009, mobile has emerged as an important new shopping channel and is expected to be used for a growing amount of holiday season purchases, Ms. Pires said.

PayPal mobile transactions have increased six-fold- from $25 million in 2008 to $141 million in 2009, and Ms. Pires expects this trend to continue as more retailers leverage the power of mobile devices for holiday shopping.

Consumers are turning to their mobile devices for smarter shopping this holiday season by doing price comparisons, staying on top of all the best deals and ultimately making purchases from the convenience of wherever they are.

With its mobile services, PayPal is giving this year’s holiday shoppers the ability to spend on their terms.

PayPal saw a 297 percent increase in mobile payment volume on Thanksgiving Day 2010 compared to Thanksgiving Day 2009, as well as an approximate 310 percent increase in mobile payment volume on Black Friday 2010 compared to the previous year.

According to an NRF 2010 report, approximately 27 percent of American adults who have a smartphones are expected to use mobile devices for holiday shopping this year.

EBay Mobile and Black Friday
EBay Mobile peak buying hours on Black Friday were 6-8pm MST. On Black Friday, eBay saw a 30 percent increase in mobile bidding activity compared to last Friday.

ebay-1The top five ZIP codes ranked by sales through eBay’s mobile applications on Thanksgiving were from Clifton, NJ (07013); South Padre Island, TX (78597); Tallahassee, FL (32309); Rush Springs, OK (73082) and Bellmawr, NJ (08031).

The top five ZIP codes ranked by sales through eBay’s mobile applications on Black Friday were from Anderson, SC (29622); Olyphant, PA (18447); Friendswood, TX (77546); Spring, TX (77381); and Orem, UT (84097).

The retail giant expects to surpass $1.5 billion in mobile sales this year. It seems to be on track to do just that because since the launch of its first mobile application in July 2008, nearly 30 million items have been bought or sold using eBay mobile applications around the world.

“I suspect that more and more consumers are using their mobile devices to enhance their offline shopping experience,” said Andrew Lipsman, senior director of industry analysis at comScore Inc., Boston. “They can use it to comparison shop, search for coupons and incentives, and even use applications like shopkick.”

Mobile Web performance
Gomez provides a real-time view into retailers’ mobile Web performance, indexing sites based on speed, availability and consistency.

qvc3The QVC mobile site consistently performs wellThe company did so, on Black Friday and found that mobile device shopping performance is lagging.

This is the first year mobile device shopping is gaining significant traction. Gomez data shows that retailers’ mobile Web performance during the Thanksgiving weekend has been disappointing, particularly in the area of speed.

“Mobile Web sites are reminiscent of where the overall Web was 10 years ago, performance-wise,” said Matt Poepsel, vice president of performance strategies at Gomez, Lexington, MA.

According to Gomez, the top-performers in mobile site performance throughout the weekend were QVC, Newegg and Walmart, respectively.

PriceGrabber mobile data
According to, consumers turned to their mobile phones to shop for LCD TVs, tablets and digital SLR cameras on Black Friday.

Popular products for Black Friday 2010 included the Lenovo Notebook, Apple iPhone 4 smartphone and the HP Mini 110-1144NR Netbook.

PriceGrabber also found that big-ticket items such as electronics, computers and cameras were particularly popular on its iPhone application during Black Friday.

An earlier survey by PriceGrabber revealed that more than one in three holiday shoppers (36 percent) are using their mobile device for shopping-related activities this holiday season.

Of these mobile shoppers, 32 percent were planning to shop from their mobile phone on Black Friday.

The top 5 most popular Black Friday categories visited on PriceGrabber’s iPhone shopping application were electronics, computers, cameras, appliances and toys, respectively.

“Over the past year, PriceGrabber has been dedicated to driving innovation based on the needs of its shoppers,” said Laura Conrad, president of PriceGrabber, Los Angeles. “One of our proudest new developments has been the creation of the PriceGrabber mobile platform which includes apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android.

“One might think that shoppers could be slightly intimidated when it comes to shopping for big-ticket products such as computers and appliances from a mobile phone,” she said.

“Saving money was clearly a great motivator on Black Friday when it came to consumer adoption of innovative technology.”

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Giselle Tsirulnik interviewed Gomez’s Mr. Poepsel. Here is what he had to say:

Were consumers using their mobile devices for purchasing during Black Friday?
Analyst data suggests that mobile devices will play a role (in some way) in over a quarter of U.S. consumer spending (across all channels) this holiday season. 

This means not just for making purchases, but for anything that makes the holiday shopping experience faster, easier and more convenient – researching product availability in stores; comparing product prices between retailers; and gaining fast, easy access to coupons and deals through mobile apps, for example.

For the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period thus far, Gomez’s User Experience Index has shown that mobile Web performance continues to lag behind the traditional Web. 

Generally, for any type of web experience (traditional PC or mobile), a numerical score of 70 or greater is considered fair; a score between 85 and above 94 is considered good; and a score above 94 is considered excellent. 

Mobile Web performance throughout the weekend has hovered around 50 – low compared to the traditional web, but consistent with or even a bit higher than the mobile Web performance baseline (based on performance over four non-peak weeks in October). 

We can assume that mobile web users have been pretty satisfied with their online holiday shopping experiences thus far, but just this afternoon (Cyber Monday), performance across the top 15 mobile retail sites has dropped off slightly, indicating a decrease (for the first time since last Wednesday) in the number of satisfied users relative to the baseline, as the online shopping season comes into full swing.

Overall, for the “official” start of the 2010 holiday shopping season, mobile web performance has not kept pace with the PC web, and any major increases in mobile commerce this holiday season are likely to come about through mobile apps  Mobile Web sites are reminiscent of where the overall web was 10 years ago, performance-wise. 

What other functions did mobile serve on Black Friday?
As indicated above, consumers often use mobile devices to augment the shopping experience, especially when they’re pressed for time like during the holidays.  So even if actual mcommerce rates remain relatively low, the mobile web is likely playing a huge role in driving revenues through other channels like in-store.

What are the criteria for being top performers in mobile site performance?
The top mobile site performers demonstrate the best speed, availability and consistency (the standard deviation between fastest and slowest response time) in user experiences.   Since last Wednesday through now, the top mobile web performers have been QVC, Newegg, Dell, Williams Sonoma and Office Max. 

One reason why mobile web performance continues to be a challenge may be that many retailers are still figuring out the proper balance between functionality and speed on a mobile site. 

More specifically, they want to offer a feature-rich mobile web experience consistent with what their customers experience on the traditional web, but this can result in slowdowns in mobile web downloads, since many devices simply can’t accommodate the same volume of content as a desktop PC. 

The key to optimizing a mobile experience for speed is to streamline site content and multi-step transactions based on what mobile customers do and expect on the site. 

But if you start taking away too much feature-richness and content from time-pressed consumers, this may have the adverse affect of irritating them, especially during the holiday season.  Striking the critical balance between speed and functionality is key and it’s all about knowing what your mobile customers want.

Final take
Here is a demo of the PayPal iPhone application

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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