Just in time for Black Friday, Google Data released its consumer trends report and predictions for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Here are the key findings, insights and trends to expect from consumers in the coming weeks.
Top product searches in the first two weeks of November provided researchers with enough data to project the most popular sale items this holiday season. Hatchimals and the Nintendo Entertainment System topped searches this month, followed by Baby Alive, Sony’s PS4 Pro, Pokémon and RC cars.
Mobile searches and purchases continue to climb in popularity amongst consumers nationwide after passing the popularity of desktop searches and purchases for the first time on Thanksgiving and Black Friday of last year.
Customers also use mobile search not just to find specific products but as gifting inspiration. During last year’s holiday, mobile searches for “unique gifts” grew more than 65 percent year over year. Similarly, mobile searches related to “cool gifts” grew more than 80 percent.
The research also found that shoppers no longer wait to shop. While Thanksgiving foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores is heaviest in the evening, 59 percent of retail mobile searches happen before stores open and peak at 8 p.m. Similarly, Black Friday mobile searches are high all day long, while foot traffic peaks between noon and 4 p.m.
Further, women comprise a majority of mobile shopping throughout the holiday season, buying products twice as much as men — except the week of Christmas, when men are more likely to be completing mobile purchases.
Regionally, New England shoppers stand out in the U.S. By 10 a.m. on Black Friday, Google found that more than 25 percent of shoppers in New England had already visited a shopping center or department store — a full hour ahead of the rest of the country. New Hampshire stands out in particular as having the highest number of searches for product-related deals.
Despite the continued growth in the value of eCommerce as part of the retail whole, Google found mobile retail searches are still primarily used by shoppers as a door-to-the-store. Seventy-six percent of people who search for products nearby visit a related business within a day, and 28 percent of those searches result in a purchase.
This year is once again projected to break sales records. Sales this holiday season could reach an average of $1 billion every day, with $8.4 billion in total sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone.
Thanksgiving could be the fastest-growing day for holiday sales. Holiday sales could jump up more than 15 percent from 2015 to reach $2 billion. Black Friday sales alone are projected to reach $3 billion for the first time in history, and Cyber Monday is expected to hit $3.36 billion.
Ten percent of all holiday purchases are expected to be made on online platforms. The majority will still be made in brick-and-mortar stores, perhaps because it’s tradition.