With the Black Friday, Cyber Monday holiday weekend upon us, retailers in the U.S. and abroad are preparing for another peak period for customer acquisition and commerce revenues. In 2016, the U.S. eCommerce market is the second largest globally and is expected to reach a total of $482 billion by 2018. China is still the global leader with its B2C eCommerce market accounting for 38% of worldwide turnover; this Singles' Day, November 11th, 2016, Alibaba's success highlighted the region's potential turning over $17.8 billion in sales in one day (and $1 billion in just the first five minutes), surpassing last year's record of $14.3 billion record by 24%.
This year, online and mobile sales are predicted to increase 16.4% and 45.2%, respectively. In the U.S., the Thanksgiving weekend represents the largest opportunity for customer acquisition with a 143% higher potential than any other period throughout the year. Mobile commerce continues to emerge as a dominant use case; mobile transactions grew by 210 percent last year for a total of $75 billion in online sales transacted via mobile devices. We have seen this trend continue in Asia where 87% of Singles' Day purchases were made via a mobile device this year. According to Forrester's US Online Holiday Retail Sales Forecast 2016, shoppers are leveraging the Internet to better plan for holiday purchases and are using mobile phones to take advantage of last-minute deals at their convenience. Akamai has already observed this behavior with U.S. retail peak traffic up nearly 30%* over the baseline on Tuesday, November 22nd.
Convenience and the ubiquitous presence that smartphones have assumed in our daily lives are driving this trend, with more than 40% of holiday online buyers in 2015 indicating that they used mobile phones for their holiday shopping. The American Thanksgiving holiday is always a strong performer for new technology segments, as consumers tend to consume them at a rate of 40% more than established segments. Retailers have been taking advantage of chatbot technology and the big three mobile tech giants Amazon, Apple, and Google have been steadily improving their digital assistants and social platforms to compete for consumer mindshare, especially during mobile moments. According to a survey commissioned by Adobe, 33 percent of mobile phone users engage with their mobile digital assistant monthly and Gartner projects that nearly $2 billion in online sales will be performed exclusively through mobile digital assistants by the end of 2016.
Between conversational commerce and social selling, retailers have a significant opportunity to maximize customer satisfaction and their own revenues this year. The keys to success include delivering a seamless connected experience across devices, ensuring mobile use cases are fast, scalable, and secure, and finding ways to differentiate via creative promotions and online deals. Akamai will be taking a look at how retailers fared during the holidays in our upcoming blogs. Stay tuned and enjoy your holidays!
*This data is based on a sampling of the company's retail customers - it is not representative of Akamai's total traffic. The data is intended to reveal trends and fluctuations in the eCommerce industry because of Akamai's significant customer base and insights into the activities on online retailers' websites.