By now, you’ve heard of the resounding success of the 2017 retail holiday shopping season that shattered countless records. Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated more than $11.5 billion in revenue, while Cyber Monday became the largest online shopping day in U.S. history.
To help guide retailers looking to replicate that prosperity in 2018, our team at Akamai took a closer look at our November and December platform traffic and identified three trends in buyer behavior. Here are our findings as well as actionable steps retailers can take to deliver the shopping experiences their customers want.
The importance of mobile has never been higher for retailers, as demonstrated by a significant increase in mobile engagement throughout the holiday season. During Black Friday, for example, mobile devices accounted for 50 percent of the total traffic to our platform.
What does this mean for retailers? If your mobile app or website isn’t optimized to support an upward increase in traffic this year, you could be missing out on major revenue opportunities. Consumers love the convenience of shopping from the palm of their hand, at any time, no matter where they are. Therefore, retailers must invest in mobile strategies that ensure a seamless customer experience. If shipping inventory isn’t an option, businesses can still take advantage of mobile by offering online purchases for in-store pick up.
Don’t Sleep on International Holidays
International holidays like Chinese New Year and Boxing Day continue to be strong for retailers across the globe. For example, online traffic in the United Kingdom surged on Boxing Day, increasing 113 percent over average traffic. In fact, Boxing Day traffic in the U.K. was 21 percent higher than on Black Friday and 83 percent higher than on Cyber Monday.
As the internet continues to blur the lines of global commerce, these international holidays should not be overlooked by U.S. retailers. Investing in localized content and offers to ensure that web and mobile experiences are personal and engaging is critical to capitalize on the global shopper. Retailers should have technology to stage and schedule relevant content, and e-commerce platforms ready to handle a surge in traffic at any time, coming from all corners of the globe, not just during end-of-year, U.S.-driven shopping spikes.
Optimize for Both Android and iOS
Research has shown that iPhone users tend to spend more money than Android users, and this proved true on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where average revenue was higher for iOS. However, an important discovery we found is that despite traffic on iOS devices being 126 percent higher than on Android devices, the conversion rate on Android devices exceeded the conversion rate on iOS. Our data implies that although iOS users are likely to spend more, Android users are more tech savvy and comfortable with mobile commerce. As this continues to play out in 2018, retailers should be sure to optimize their mobile platforms for both Android and iOS. Don’t lose out on revenue by prioritizing one over the other.
The data we collected over the 2017 holiday season provides critical insights into how shoppers are using mobile devices to make purchases and how the once rigid lines of global commerce are blurring as more and more consumers take advantage of online and in-app shopping. Retailers would be wise to incorporate these lessons into their strategies in the year ahead and beyond. Keeping a finger on the pulse on changing consumer shopping habits can help make 2018 another knockout year for retail.
Ari Weil is the senior director of product and industry marketing at Akamai, a content delivery network (CDN) services provider for media and software delivery, and cloud security solutions.
Related story: Breaking Down 2017 Holiday Spending