Holiday Shopping and Technology

Times are changing. With new apps and technology constantly upgrading and pushing our world into the future, nothing will be the same anymore. In an age where self-driving cars are imminent, humans are slowly turning into cyborgs with their wearable tech (#fitbit), and cellphones act as an extension of ourselves, technology is not only influencing our day-to-day routines, but it’s also influencing how we shop, especially during the holidays. No longer do we need to wait 5 hours before a store opens up, fight off hordes of other savings-hungry souls, and wait another 2 hours in line at the checkout to get the best deals. We can get even better deals online in the comfort of our body-temperature regulated pajamas on our couch that has a plugin to charge our phones while we do some shopping.

Just close your eyes for a second and imagine it. You wake up the morning of Black Friday and grab your phone off the end table to turn off the alarm blaring from it. The scent of fresh coffee from the automated coffee-maker with a timer awakens your soul as you slowly make your way to the kitchen. Your smart pet food dispenser senses low weight in the bowl and pours out a few nibblets so your furry friend can have his/her breakfast with you. You grab the coffee and go to relax on your couch. You turn on your smart tv, flip through some networks on your Roku before settling on CNN to watch the Black Friday ruckus at the nearby mall. You plug your phone into the couches charger and flip through some sales you’ve been eyeing all week. From website to website you flip back and forth looking for the best deal. Now if you were a programmer you could have created an app to make finding the best deal easier, but for now, you’ll live with flipping back and forth. When you’re finally satisfied with the deals you found, it’s time to finish your online shopping. You don’t even need to get back up and look for your wallet; you just use your thumbprint to enable Apple Pay or PayPal. Boxes start arriving in two days. You still haven’t left your apartment. Why would you need to? Books are available on Kindle, Roku offers Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video, your groceries are scheduled to be delivered in an hour, and your wifi connection is strong af. (I know, I wish I lived in this world, too~ just a hard-working 24-year-old trying to make it in LA over here).

Mobile shopping makes life so much easier during the holidays. Anything you could ever want is available online, and most retailers offer free 2-day shopping. Long gone are the days when families made an event out of Black Friday. Long gone are the days gas was wasted driving from one store to the next trying to get the best deal. The world wide web is a digital marketplace that can satisfy all your holiday needs with a few clicks and a tap of your thumbprint. And what sacrifices do you have to make? Besides retailers and marketers collecting your purchase data to learn more about you and your shopping habits, you gain ease and convenience, and 2-day shipping. Whether or not this is a fair trade is a blog post for another day…

So just how much has technology changed the way we shop? Let’s take a look.

A recent report from Adweek showed that 2018 resulted in new records for Thanksgiving and mobile orders. Here are some of the key points:

  • Thanksgiving Day is the fastest-growing online shopping day
  • Consumers placed more Black Friday orders on their phones than desktops for the first time
  • This Friday was the first day ever to net more than $2.1 billion in smartphone sales
  • Consumers want to shop online to avoid crowds (63 percent), get online coupons (55 percent) and deal with less stress (54 percent). (RetailMeNot)
  • 40 percent of consumers plan to do most of their holiday shopping via Amazon and other large online retailers (Splitit)
  • Advertisers should not wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to launch their campaigns—the highest click-through-rates happen in November (ZypMedia)
  • Retailers should invest in digital to not only keep up with competitors but to redefine value exchanges with customers (Capgemini)
  • 92.64 and 92.72 percent of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers have been searching the internet for deals ahead of the day (Influenster)
  • 30 percent of people say online ads help with finding gift ideas (Harris Insights/OpenX)
  • 61 percent of millennials will use a mobile device at some point as they browse and shop for the perfect gift (Oath)

For the first time in history,  54% of consumers placed more Black Friday orders on their phones than computers. Within the first two days of this holiday season, retailers made almost $10 billion in sales. In addition to technology influencing how we shop during the holiday season, the most popular products were laptops and streaming devices, which will most likely be used next year to do even more online and mobile shopping, and set a new record. We are using technology to buy more technology; I can’t think of any other product one uses to buy more of. If you can, please let me know in the comments below.

Another significant takeaway from this holiday season is the increase in mobile searches. Back in 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches, but now more people are comfortable making transactions online. The comfort and ease of online transactions are in large part due to Apple Pay, PayPal, and Venmo making cashless transactions more convenient and cost-efficient than ever before. With improvements in payment systems, websites with more mobile-friendly UI, retailers doing their part to make online shopping seamless, and apps (i.e. Snapchat and Instagram) allowing users to buy items right off the app, mobile searches and purchases are sure to rise year-after-year. Who knows: maybe tech will advance far more dramatically and this time next year we’ll be using our smartphones to try on outfits before we scan our thumbprints. TBD…