Black Friday Results: Shopping via Apps Gains Steam

Over the past few years, the fundamentals of Black Friday shopping have held steady – a slew of deals and a rush of consumers to take advantage of those deals. However, the mode of shopping over the past few years has changed; brick-and-mortar stores have seen less traffic due to consumers shifting towards shopping via the Internet. This year was no different, but that does not mean brick-and-mortar stores were excluded from Black Friday craziness and the profits that follow.  

In fact, multiple brick-and-mortar retailers caught onto and contributed to the trend of this year’s deals holiday: shopping via mobile apps. According to a Tech Crunch article by Sarah Perez, “More U.S. consumers were shopping on mobile devices on Black Friday this year, with $2.1 billion in sales coming from smartphones.” However, the shopping being done via smartphones was not just through mobile web browsers. Instead, the portion of consumers shopping via a retailer’s app grew steadily.

Perez writes, “…the top 10 shopping apps on the App Store added half a million first-time users on Black Friday.” To iterate this point: these are newusers, not users who re-downloaded an app after having deleted it in the past. These two statistics clearly show the growing interest and tendency for shoppers to prefer shopping not only online, but through an app specifically curated for the retailer of their interest.

This move towards app-specific shopping is no big surprise – many shoppers tend to have a handful of retailers they buy from more frequently than others, which makes the idea of them downloading and, therefore, giving up precious space on their smartphone more believable. What makes this scenario even more plausible is that in-app experiences, from shopping to game playing, tend to be better overall than experiences via mobile web browsers. The loyalty of a frequent buyer coupled with the more streamlined, visually clean, and convenient app experience makes for a perfect outcome of more app downloads & in-app purchases.

While Perez points out in her article that Amazon is “not surprisingly” the most installed retail app, she also draws attention to the growth of primarily brick-and-mortar retailers that gained mobile app users this Black Friday. For example, Perez cites that Walmart’s mobile app user base grew 39.7 percent over 2017 and Target’s grew 3.3 percent, making these two brick-and-mortar retailers the top two of their kind to have apps downloaded. Overall, the downloads of brick-and-mortar apps were up 24.7 percent over 2017’s Black Friday.

These numbers show that, while physical stores have been struggling through the rise of online shopping, these retailers might not be in as much trouble as some may think. While less people are physically going to their stores, these retailers do have a relationship and a reputation with their customers and it seems they are starting to translate that via their mobile apps, allowing them to get a piece of the online shopping market. 

Overall, whether a retailer is mobile first or brick-and-mortar, this year’s Black Friday shopping results show how consumers prefer the personalization and ease of shopping through apps rather than web browsers or in-person. If these trends continue, the mobs of people waiting outside physical stores may decrease, but Black Friday shopping will continue to live on.

At Oplytic, we work hard to promote and market your app to the right users, offering clear data analysis and safe, trustworthy placement. It’s never too early to start considering your strategy or to start building your user base for 2019’s Black Friday.

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