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Shoppers flock to mobile on Thanksgiving 2014, turn back to desktops on Cyber Monday

While eCommerce certainly continued to grow year-over-year this holiday season, reports about growth numbers are a mixed bag, depending on who you ask. One thing is for certain, though: Mobile commerce hit its stride this year.
In fact, Walmart executives said as much as 70 percent of the company's traffic came from mobile devices from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, and JCPenney staffers reported that more than half its site visitors were using smartphones and tablets during that same time. PayPal reps shared that the company experienced a 47 percent increase in PayPal global mobile payment volume on Thanksgiving compared with Thanksgiving 2013, and a 62 percent increase for Black Friday 2014 over last year.

While Walmart's mobile success seems exceptionally high, industry numbers are representative of the data Akamai gathered using the Real User Monitoring (RUM) functionality, which analyzed site visitor device usage for 71 of Akamai's top online retailers.

Here's a breakdown of the mobile vs. desktop use in the days following the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday:

  • Thanksgiving (11/27)
    • 44% mobile
    • 56% desktop
  • Black Friday (11/28)
    • 39% mobile
    • 61% desktop
  • Saturday (11/29)
    • 42% mobile
    • 58% desktop
  • Sunday (11/30)
    • 42% mobile
    • 58% desktop
  • Cyber Monday (12/1)
    • 30% mobile
    • 70% desktop
Interestingly, Thanksgiving day saw the highest percentage of mobile traffic of all five days, even peaking at 50 percent at 5 p.m. EST. True to form, it would appear as though shoppers hunkered down with larger screens on Cyber Monday to take advantage of online deals. In fact, Cyber Monday experienced the least amount of mobile traffic of the five popular shopping days, with 30 percent mobile and 70 percent desktop traffic.

In total, the 2014 mobile activity, according to the Akamai RUM data analysis, represented a 2 percent shift from desktop to mobile usage for the five-day shopping period year-over-year. In 2013, mobile to desktop shopping averaged at 35 percent and 65 percent, respectively. This holiday season, the mobile to desktop numbers were 37 percent to 63 percent, on average.

Device platforms also saw slight average growth year-over-year. Android usage grew to 9.3 percent from 8.7 percent in 2013, iPads accounted for 14.8 percent of traffic compared to 14.5 percent last year, iPhones comprised of 13.4 percent versus 11.4 percent, and Macs jumped to 15.8 percent from 15.2 percent. Windows devices, however, declined from 50.2 percent in 2013 to 46.8 percent this year.

Device platforms also saw slight average growth year-over-year. Android usage grew to 9 percent from 7.8 percent in 2013, iPads accounted for 15 percent of traffic compared to 13.3 percent last year, iPhones comprised of 13 percent versus 10.7 percent, and Macs jumped to 16 percent from 13.8 percent. Windows devices, however, declined from 54.3 percent in 2013 to 47 percent this year.

The RUM data also notes that a majority of mobile devices were powered by non-cellular sources this holiday season. On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, for example, 78 and 76 percent of traffic came from non-cellular devices. This suggests that more than three-quarters of online shoppers were likely using Wi-Fi access in their homes or within the stores they were visiting.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog feed to see how the rest of the 2014 holiday shopping season unfolds, and follow #HolidayReadiness and @Akamai on Twitter to learn about more the data and trends we're seeing.

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