In this year’s run-up to the holiday shopping season, news reports inundated us with stories about the early start to the holiday shopping season. Big-name retailers Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Target unlocked their doors at midnight on Thanksgiving only to be bested by Wal-Mart, which opened two hours earlier at 10 p.m.
While all the early openings were justifiably big news, there’s a development we think is even more interesting – acceleration in the use of electronic shopping, from both the PC and the mobile device.
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As SBC’s own Matt Wilson correctly predicted to the Columbus Dispatch prior to the event, Cyber Monday sales growth was primed to explode. This is exactly what happened, as ComScore reported that Cyber Monday sales rose 22 percent from about $1 billion in 2010 to $1.25 billion this year.
Then, there’s mobile-device shopping. As of July 2011, a survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that as much as a third of all American adults owned smartphones. Juxtapose this data with the numbers of people who ventured out for deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and you wind up with what Wilson also told the Dispatch: “Literally armies of shoppers and they have ‘intel.’”
What does it all mean? Retailers are finding every way possible to engage with the consumer wherever it’s most convenient for the shopper, whether it’s through brick and mortar, online or mobile devices. It also means that consumers have greater access to deals, enabling them to make purchases from their phones even while they stand in line at the store. Expect this to only increase as both the smartphone adoption rate and the public’s comfort level with online shopping increases. In the end, Wilson says, “the shopper wins.”