How we shopped: analyzing Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends

The U.S. Thanksgiving weekend has come to symbolize the beginning of the holiday shopping season with the much-hyped Black Friday and Cyber Monday offering deals aimed to lure consumers into their stores.

Lucky for retailers, many organizations are keeping statistics on buying habits that can help us understand when and where these blockbuster retail events live up to their reputation, as well as how shopping habits are changing as shoppers are tempted by online retail.

Mobile overtakes browser-based online shopping, tablets lose ground

Two prominent studies found that more mobile purchases were made than desktop purchases for the first time.

IBM reported that 57 percent of online shopping traffic for the weekend came from tablets and smartphones, and Adobe reported 53 percent. Adobe’s report noted that consumers are actually making more purchases on mobile phones, but fewer on tablets than they did last year (15 per cent down to 13 per cent).


Shopping through mobile apps becomes more common

Rather than use a web browser, many consumers choose to use a mobile shopping app for their shopping fix. Crittercism, a mobile app intelligence platform provider, found that shopping apps were loaded 15.6 per cent more on Black Friday than the same day last year. Crittercism gets this data from its high-profile customers such as Macy’s, eBay, Etsy and Groupon.

Those aged 25-35 shopped and spent more over the weekend than any other age group

According to a poll from the National Retail Federation, the average spending per person over the weekend totaled $299.60. The age group who spent the most money were 25-34 year-olds, whose holiday purchases averaged $425.08 – with nearly 70 percent of that going towards gifts.

Online shopping is also most popular with individuals under the age of 35 with 57 percent of them participated – compared to the overall 42 percent average for adults.

Canadians would rather shop Canadian – both in-store and online

Prior to Black Friday, separate surveys by UPS Canada and IPG Mediabrands found that Canadians said they would shop at Canadian retailers rather than shop at U.S. retailers both in-store and online.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t as big of a deal in Canada

While it may seem that Canadians are just as eager for Black Friday deals as those south of the border, figures from Statistics Canada show that, despite an increase in spending between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, most shopping in Canada actually happens in the month of December.

Reasons for this include the fact that Black Friday is a typical work day for most Canadians (despite 1.2 million feigning illness to partake in shopping), and many expect better sales immediately following Christmas. The share of annual retail spending in November went from only 8.4 per cent to 8.5 per cent from 2006 to 2014.

And there’s little evidence that this year should be dramatically different.

The Conference Board of Canada deemed 2015 a rough year for retailers, reasoning that high levels of personal debt, a weak Canadian dollar, and a poor economic outlook in oil-producing provinces weighs down on consumer spending.


Certainly the shift to online shopping is a major shift in consumer behaviour, especially when it comes to mobile ecommerce, but bad economic conditions can definitely put a damper on overall spending.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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David Hamilton
David Hamilton
As a journalist, I delve into topics where technology and society collide. I’ve written for Canadian newspaper The National Post, and posted more than 3,000 articles on technology related to the Internet as a staff writer for trade publication the Web Host Industry Review. And I host and produce a podcast called Techish.

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