Black Friday began in the U.S. as a way to funnel Thanksgiving holiday free time into a day of wanton gift shopping. It later spread globally as a retailer promotional blitz to kick off the holiday shopping season. Enter: Black Friday, 2020 style. In early September, many retailers, including Home Depot, announced that their Black Friday deals would be spread out over two months instead of kicking off on Black Friday. And just a week before Black Friday, France announced the official delay of Black Friday by a full week to help shopkeepers compete against large online retailers.
Nevertheless, the actual Black Friday remains the center of this shopping season, and Akamai helped our retail customers prepare. We also took a very close look at online activity on Black Friday to monitor trends across all of our retail customers all over the world. The first thing we saw is that hits to retailers' websites increased by more than 27% YoY on Black Friday, and the peak hourly hits also increased by more than 28% YoY.
Additionally, we looked at the following data points for online shopping on Black Friday, comparing 2019 to 2020:
- Shoppers on mobile versus desktop:
- Mobile: increase from 64% to 70%
- Desktop: decrease from 32% to 25%
- Bounce rates on mobile versus desktop:
- Mobile: increase from 35% to 36%
- Desktop: decrease from 29% to 25%
- Conversion rates on mobile versus desktop:
- Mobile: increase from 1.99% to 2.41%
- Desktop: increase from 4.07% to 4.78%
Back in 2017, 50% of online shopping on Akamai's platform happened on mobile devices; this increased to 58% in 2018 and again up to 64% in 2019. Even though so many retailers spread out their promotions and France is delayed, we still anticipated a 2020 hike in online shopping because of COVID and because so many Americans have the day off of work and are on their mobile devices. In a blog post a month ago, I predicted a jump to 72%. Black Friday mobile shopping hit a record 70%, so I was pretty close.
Despite the fact that mobile shopping has been on the rise for years, online shopping remains a hybrid of mobile and desktop. The data shows us that mobile is an increasingly critical experience to optimize. With 70% of traffic going to mobile devices, ensuring users have a flawless experience is of paramount importance. A shopper will receive an email, app notification, or a text message promoting an offer and must be able to immediately follow that to the digital storefront. The fact that more conversions are driven from desktops underscores that while mobile is critical for driving awareness, the intricacies of converting shopping to purchase are still a challenge on a smaller form factor.
Learn more about solutions that can help your online business thrive at akamai.com/retail.