The move to offer online shoppers earlier access to Black Friday deals – beginning as early as Thanksgiving Day this year – resulted in record-breaking numbers of consumers shopping on mobile, reports PayPal. Based on its online commerce data, the company reports having seen a 47% increase in PayPal global mobile payment volume on Thanksgiving compared with Thanksgiving 2013, and a 62% increase for Black Friday 2014 over last year. Meanwhile, the company also saw a 43% increase in the number of customers shopping through PayPal mobile this Thanksgiving, and a 51% increase across the same metric on Black Friday.
PayPal sees $1 in every $6 of e-commerce flowing through its network, which puts it in a unique position to analyze shopping data and draw insights. To give you a sense of its footprint on mobile, PayPal says it processed $27 billion in mobile payment volume in 2013, up 99% over 2012.
In the U.S., Thanksgiving Day is typically spent with families, so it’s not surprising to see that consumers chose to break out their mobile devices instead of sitting down at desktops or laptops during the earliest hours of the Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday deals.
According to PayPal, Thanksgiving Day shopping hit at 1 PM this year, where as in years past it usually didn’t start until dinner time.
1 PM-2 PM PT/4 PM-5 PM ET was the peak hour for mobile shoppers on Thanksgiving, and PayPal consumers in particular were buying fashion items, which drove almost twice as much global mobile payment volume as the next category, electronics. Of course, this metric could be indicative also of PayPal’s e-commerce install base, as well as other factors like how many shoppers were buying electronics from the big-name retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy, for example, where they may already have payment card data stored and/or don’t use PayPal at checkout.
The increase in mobile shoppers was also seen on Black Friday, PayPal says. This year, the company saw a 62% increase in global mobile payment volume versus Black Friday 2013, and a 51% increase in the number of global customers shopping through PayPal mobile, as noted above.
1 PM PT/4 PM ET was the peak hour for Black Friday 2014 mobile shoppers – a time that hints that consumers may have gone to local retailers in the morning for doorbusters and other deals, then finished up their holiday shopping online from their phones and tablets. Again, fashion items were the top category, followed by electronics, and PayPal mobile’s top cities included Chicago, Houston, and L.A.
Though the biggest sales may have begun on Thanksgiving Day with some retailers, and then on Friday with others, PayPal found that, like other years, the U.S. holiday shopping season actually starts on September 30, at around 6 PM to 7 PM on that day. “We’ve noticed that on the day the shopping season begins, there’s typically a big spike in payment transactions. For example, last year, payment transactions nationwide grew by 62.81% on September 30th,” adds a PayPal spokesperson.
Additionally, online shoppers are growing savvier about finding bargains, and are becoming comfortable shopping from mobile devices, which also contributes to the earlier spike in holiday sales.
PayPal’s figures are just one bullet point in what’s turning out to be an overall record year for online commerce, with holiday shopping across the U.S. and Europe approaching $130 billion, and U.S. Thanksgiving and Black Friday online sales topping $1 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively.