TECHNOLOGY

Study: Mobile to dominate online holiday sales

BY Marianne Wilson

The forecast for holiday 2018 is…mobile.

Smartphones will account for 68% of all e-commerce visits during the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to new research from Salesforce. More orders and visits to online sites will be made on phones than any other device.

Cyber Week will account for 40% of the entire season’s online sales, up 8% from 2017, the report noted, and e-commerce traffic from Instagram will increase 51% over last holiday season. AI-based product recommendations will drive 35% of all holiday revenue.

“Mobile is undoubtedly the most disruptive force in retail since the onset of e-commerce,” said Rick Kenney, head of consumer insights, Salesforce. “We’ll see more visits from phones this season than total e-commerce visits across the entire 2015 shopping season. And even those in-store shoppers are mobile — 83% of shoppers aged 18-44 are using their phones while in a physical store.”

Here are the key takeaways from Salesforce’s 2018 Holiday Seasons Predictions and insights report:

• Cyber Week — the seven-day period beginning the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving (Nov. 22) and running through Cyber Monday — will account for 40% of all digital revenue for the shopping season globally. Black Friday will again be the top digital shopping day of the season, capturing 10% of the season’s revenue, while Cyber Monday will contribute 8% of sales.

• The top five digital shopping days (ranked by global revenue) will be Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Sunday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Saturday.

• Fifty percent of holiday shopping will be complete by Dec. 2, a day earlier than the 2017 holiday season.

• For the first time during the holiday season, shoppers will place more orders from their phones than computers or tablets. Mobile phones will account for 46% of all orders, edging out computers (44%), and far outpacing tablets (9%):

• Mobile will deliver 68% of all e-commerce traffic this season, an all-time high, which reflects 19% year-over-year growth.

• Mobile traffic share will peak on Christmas Eve, when shoppers will turn to their phones to make 72% of all visits and 54% of orders.

• Free shipping will prove to be a mandate this season, as 72% of all orders will ship for free, a slight increase over last year.

• Instagram will emerge this holiday season as the fastest-growing social channel for referring digital traffic to retail sites. Instagram traffic will grow 51% year-over-year, while Facebook will see a 7% decline. Health and beauty shoppers are the most likely to tap from Instagram to an e-commerce site.

• AI-based product recommendations will drive more growth. Revenue driven from AI-powered product recommendations will grow by 25% since the 2017 holiday season AI-based product recommendations will drive 35% of all revenue.

“Retailers who infuse AI into the shopping experience can better understand customer needs and drive increased revenue with capabilities like personalized product recommendations,” said Kenney.

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