‘Tis the Season to Go Mobile: Holiday Season Trends Through StartApp Data

This year, the holiday season in the US is expected to be a biggie. In fact, 2019 is predicted to become the first-ever trillion-dollar spending season, with estimated retail sales of $1.008 trillion. From the frenzy of Black Friday till New Year’s Day, holiday shopping in the US is absolutely redefining the term “big business”. 

And of course, with big business comes big competition, and that means advertisers and retailers need to get their holiday marketing campaigns into gear. What’s more, in 2019, the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday season is almost a week shorter than usual, which deletes a precious chunk of shopping time and potential revenue for retailers. This only makes the competition more fierce in an already crowded marketplace.

That’s why it is critical for retailers and e-commerce sellers in all segments to get to know their audiences as best they can, in order to provide eye-catching campaigns and offers they can’t refuse. And the best place to start is with mobile. According to a Salesforce study, mobile is the most popular device by far in the US for placing shopping orders online, growing by 39% in Q1 of 2019. This holiday season, 70% of digital visits to e-commerce sites will be from mobile, and on peak shopping days, this will even rise to 75%.

For every retail segment, from food to fashion, books to cosmetics, user behavior trends all point to mobile as the key focus for growth in online browsing and shopping. As a leader in the mobile data space, the StartApp team is joining in the festive holiday spirit with a deep dive of our data, collected from over 225 million mobile devices in the US. Let’s take a look at some of the findings and see what they have to tell us about holiday season shopping trends in 2019:

  1. Online shopping: People love shopping online and they love using their mobile devices to do it. True to the Salesforce stats mentioned above, our own data proves this with an astonishing number: in the three months leading up to the holiday season, 142 million mobile users in the US show interest in shopping.
  2. Holiday shopping: When we narrowed it down by behavioral segment, the numbers are still impressive – over 17 million users show interest in holiday shopping. Don’t forget, though, this number focuses only on the specific ‘holiday shopping’ category. There is still plenty of shopping in other categories in the leadup to the holiday season, which our next data findings clearly show.
  3. Books: Books remain a highly popular online shopping choice for the holidays. After all, Amazon started out as an online book store, competing with the likes of Barnes & Noble. This tradition appears to have stuck, with nearly 22 million mobile users on the StartApp data platform showing interest in book shopping before the holiday season.
  4. Value Consciousness: If you thought that holiday shopping was just about buying stuff, you’d be mistaken! Marketing research has shown time and again that brands succeed when they remain true to higher values, such as community or the environment. In fact, brands that are viewed as ‘meaningful’ and ‘making the world a better place’ outperform the stock market by 134%! Our own data supports this with an impressive 6 million mobile users interested in shopping according to their values as we approach the holiday season.
  5. Food & Beverage: If there’s one thing that just about everyone can agree on for the holidays, it’s the importance of great food and drink! Whether entertaining at home or traveling with friends, the convenience of mobile ordering in this category is clear – in last year’s Cyber Week, the Food & Beverage category saw one of the highest growths in AOV (Average Order Value). According to StartApp data, nearly 6.5 million mobile users are interested in food and beverage shopping this year. And there is no reason why it shouldn’t continue right through to Christmas Eve dinner preparations.
  6. Big Box Stores: According to eMarketer, big box retailers are going to do well this holiday season. Huge brand name recognition combined with BOPIS (buy online, pick up instore), also known as ‘click and collect’ services, make big box stores a popular online shopping alternative. This is reflected in StartApp data too, where it was found that close to 6 million mobile users are interested in big box shopping via mobile.

There are several other categories that are popular on the StartApp data platform among mobile users as we head into the holiday season. Arts & crafts, beauty products, Wish shopping (the popular e-commerce platform), home improvement, Amazon, and event tickets categories all had over 5 million interested mobile users in the past three months. 

If 2019 is set to be the first trillion-dollar holiday season, you can rest assured there will be plenty of shopping action taking place on mobile. And, as online shopping becomes ever more sophisticated, and smartphones transform into the #1 choice for shopping device, the need for effective mobile ad campaigns during the holiday season cannot be ignored. 

Want to use the StartApp data platform to find your best target audience on mobile for the holiday season? Contact info.soda@startapp.com.

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