As we say goodbye to summer and head into the fall, it's time for marketers to start thinking about the upcoming holiday season! The NRF points out that the holiday season alone can represent as much as 30% of annual sales for retailers, so now is the time to optimize marketing strategies to capture holiday shopping dollars. Last year, smartphones accounted for 46% of retail traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday mobile sales hit an all-time-high of $2 billion. Given mobile commerce is growing 33% year-over-year, we're predicting mobile will play an even more significant role this holiday season.

Mobile Matters

Salesforce recently released a holiday season predictions report that highlights the rise of mobile. The most notable takeaway? For the first time, mobile will account for more traffic and orders than any other device for the entire holiday shopping season.

"Mobile is undoubtedly the most disruptive force in retail since the onset of e-commerce," said Rick Kenney, Head of Consumer Insights, Salesforce. "This is the year shoppers turn to phones, buying more on phones than any other device, and making far more visits, too. We'll see more visits from phones this season than total e-commerce visits across the entire 2015 shopping season. And even those in-store shoppers are mobile— 83% of shoppers aged 18‚Äì44 are using their phones while in a physical store."

eMarketer is forecasting that U.S. retail mobile commerce will hit $54.17 billion this holiday season— a 36.3% increase over last year. At Button, we expect mobile apps specifically to play a prominent part in these sales. Data from our marketplace, which is on pace to drive over $1 billion in mobile commerce this year and includes 9 of the world's top 10 largest retailers, as ranked by Forbes, shows app users consistently spend more time and money:

Average Mobile App Versus Mobile Web Performance Throughout Cyber Week, Button Marketplace Q4'17

During the holiday season last year, the Button Marketplace saw time spent in apps increase by 167% on Black Friday and peak with a 194% uptick on Cyber Monday. Average order values also increased on Cyber Monday, averaging 14% higher in app than mobile web. Additionally, in-app conversion rates were significantly higher than mobile web over all three Cyber Week peak shopping days.

Average Mobile App Versus Mobile Web Performance Throughout Cyber Week, Button Marketplace Q4'17

We're predicting the gap between app and mobile web shoppers will continue to grow this year, with apps continuing to reign supreme.

Marketing with Mobile in Mind

As we approach this holiday season and craft our marketing strategies, we need to do so with mobile in mind. Data from YouAppi and eMarketer shows mobile marketers are increasingly optimistic about the holidays, with 60% stating it's a great time of year to engage customers, an 11% increase over last year. Additionally, mobile marketers are preparing and launching holiday campaigns earlier than ever before.

Mobile Marketer points out that "By readying their strategies even earlier in the year, mobile marketers will theoretically be better prepared to reach consumers before and while they start buying gifts." Much like the rest of the year, we need to launch our campaigns with the user and user experience in mind, which means optimizing for the on-the-go consumer.

"Shoppers are continually on the go and this holiday season is no different. Consumers are looking to be inspired, to browse, and to purchase, so it's imperative that retailers really tune to a mobile reality that we're all living."
— Rob Garf, VP, Industry Strategy and Insights at Salesforce Commerce Cloud

At Button, we're confident the holiday season will play out with mobile as a clear leader. To prepare, we're working closely with our partners to optimize their marketing strategies and get their apps ready. Interested in some mobile marketing best practices for the holiday season? Reach out to us and let us know!