Recently I was in the cereal aisle of my local Whole Foods. I looked up and noticed that everyone around me was grocery shopping for Amazon Fresh and Instacart customers — i.e., shoppers who had placed their orders digitally rather than visiting the store themselves. We’ve all personally experienced how digital transformation is bridging the gap between digital and physical spaces, and the 2018 holiday season was further evidence of the growing appetite for mobile shopping.
Mobile Shopping on the Rise
eMarketer cites that global mobile commerce revenue is growing 40 percent year-over-year, showing rising expectations for mobile. In the Button Marketplace, we’re seeing the same trend emerge, including an explosion of mobile transactions over the holidays. According to the Button 2019 Mobile Commerce Report: Holiday Analysis, mobile shoppers browsed 61 percent more, made 106 percent more orders, and spent 121 percent more over the holiday season compared to the rest of the year. We expect these mobile shoppers to continue this behavior throughout 2019.
Last-Minute Shopping and Self-Gifting Are Prevalent on Mobile
As shipping times diminish, shoppers are turning to their phones for last-minute efficiency. Nearly two in three online purchases over the holidays were completed on mobile, according to Think with Google. Furthermore, the National Retail Foundation found self-gifting to be up 13 percent from a year ago, according to CNBC. Consumer behavior in the Button Marketplace reflected these trends.
Mobile shoppers splurged on technology and household items that they might not have purchased regularly throughout the year. We saw electronics purchases spike at midnight on both Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, and toy purchases spike on Cyber Monday — consumers began browsing and shopping for toys after getting those electronics deals and continued throughout the holiday season. Apple AirPods and LEGO Classic Creative Box were the top products purchased in their respective categories throughout the holidays. (AirPods were admittedly my self-gift this holiday season.) This reflects the growth of last-minute shopping and self-gifting while holiday shopping. The on-the-go nature of mobile purchasing enables these spur-of-the-moment decisions.
The Power of Power Users
According to the Pareto Principle, business revenue heavily relies on a group of power customers. Leaning into Button Marketplace data, we saw that seven out of 10 shoppers during Cyber Week were new users, and one-third of those new users came back to shop again after Cyber Monday ended. In fact, they shopped throughout the rest of the holiday season. Power shoppers who previously shopped within 30 days of Cyber Week accounted for 22 percent of sales generated over the holiday period, made more than six shopping trips, and completed purchases twice as often as average shoppers. These power users that emerged during the holiday season are likely to continue shopping in the months to come, offering retailers the opportunity to further engage with them in 2019.
How to Strengthen Your 2019 Mobile Retail Strategies
This past holiday season, retailers including Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Kohl’s launched holiday deals as early as Nov. 1, according to PYMNTS.com. Since we saw more shoppers in the Button Marketplace browsing earlier and spending more as these holiday deals unfolded, it’s important to launch timely campaigns to start engaging consumers earlier. With consumers increasingly making last-minute purchases and self-gifting, retailers that are accurate at timing their messaging and deals figure to reap the greatest mobile returns. Lastly, retailers that focus their mobile efforts on acquiring new customers and turning them into power shoppers are surely going to win in 2019.
Nicole Silver is the vice president of marketing at Button, a mobile commerce platform that maximizes the value of every tap.