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Mobile Growth Slows, Longer Shopping Dates: Black Friday/Cyber Monday Wrap-Up

The 2021 holiday season is here, but many shoppers are still skittish about crowded in-store shopping. Some expected online shopping to dominate this Black Friday. Others believed people would hit the malls to select gifts in person, given news of supply chain issues. Here’s how it played out and what we observed.

Forget the headlines, ecommerce is still growing

The dust has barely settled, but online Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales were down slightly as compared to 2020. In the U.S., online shoppers spent $8.9 billion on Black Friday, down from last year’s $9 billion, according to a report from Adobe (that’s only a 1% drop!). This year’s Cyber Monday was similarly down 1.4%, to $10.7 billion in sales, according to Adobe.

But consider this: Last year was exceptional, with people shopping online during the pandemic. Headlines featured a slight drop in ecommerce sales, but the overall online trend is positive. 

Black Friday store traffic jumped 48% from 2020, but it was down 28% from 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels. Ecommerce is still doing the heavy lifting. A 2021 Statista report shows the growth ecommerce experienced during the pandemic is expected to continue through 2025. When a social behemoth like TikTok gets into the Black Friday act, you know those numbers will keep soaring.

Savvy shoppers use smartphones to buy, but even more to browse

We’ve reported on the continued importance of smartphones to ecommerce businesses, especially during peak periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Mobile device usage accounted for 44% of Black Friday online sales and grew by 8.4% over last year on Cyber Monday. However, mobile growth was expected to rise at an even greater rate. Mobile sales, while still strong, have lifted their foot off the accelerator a bit. Interestingly, people are still relying more on phones to browse, with 57% of web visits coming from mobile, according to Adobe.

Buyers motivated by promotions and supply chain issues to shop early 

So what’s behind the slight ecom Black Friday/Cyber Monday drop? According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, 61% of consumers started purchasing holiday gifts well before the holiday weekend. Retailers and etailers offered promotional deals weeks prior to the big day, generating sales over a longer period of time. Adobe expects record-breaking ecommerce activity this year, noting that shoppers are spreading out their spending across weeks.

Additionally, shoppers started early to get what they wanted, given supply chain issues. Whether or not those issues will be alleviated any time soon remains to be seen. But as the delivery of goods gradually gets back on track, the ecom sector will benefit.

Meet shoppers on their schedule, on their preferred platform

That’s why companies need to maintain a strong ecommerce support plan. Yes, Cyber Monday is becoming Cyber Week — and eventually Cyber Month. But businesses will still need to ensure that their support plans are in place. They have to prepare for the influx of customer requests that accompany bursts in shopping activity, whether those peaks last a day or a month.

Retailers need a wide range of CX services — from customer support to social engagement — to help meet customers not just when, but where they want to be helped. Traditional support lines like email and phone are vital, but mobile users may prefer to receive assistance via text, chat, or within an ecommerce application. Online merchants providing this kind of support will continue to dominate the market.

Learn more about ModSquad’s CX offerings in our new ecommerce data sheet. To find out more about how we help global organizations with their customer support needs, let’s chat.

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