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Cyber Monday Gives Insights into 2020 Consumer Behavior Trends

Matt Wujciak

Consumer shopping

One year ago Cyber Monday surged new highs of $7.9 billion online sales. This year, the record was broken again, hitting $9.2 billion according to an Adobe report released earlier this week. At the day’s peak, it was over $11 million per minute.

Shopping surges giving analysts insights for 2020

Cultural shopping surges centered around holiday discounts like Black Friday and Cyber Monday obviously don’t constitute typical spending behavior for customers. However, as consumers capitalize on deals, temporarily emptying their wallets because they can, there are large quantities of actionable customer data collected and consumer trends worth observing, giving analysts insights for 2020 purchasing trends.

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For example, where are U.S. customers spending the most? What marketing strategies are prompting customers to spend? Most importantly, how are they spending? 

If businesses can identify emerging purchasing trends, they can target consumers at the right touch points to deliver fast and convenient purchasing experiences sparked by strategic advertising and emotional reactions. 

With a mixture of independent and direct-to-consumer brands, Shopify’s merchants in the marketplace’s “heat map” shows some interesting stats, including New York as the top selling city of Cyber Monday, followed by Vernon and Los Angeles, California. 

While everyone knows the Big Apple is a retail feeding frenzy, especially during the holiday season, Cyber Monday purchases reveal a national consumer behavior insight to look out for in 2020, specifically, the much-talked about rise of mobile commerce. 

This year’s Cyber Monday marked the first day to see sales via smartphones break the $3 billion mark, accounting for nearly a third of the day’s total sales. 

Purchases via mobile devices breaks record

As Tech Crunch described, “In itself, this is huge, as smartphone growth was up 46% [year over year on the day]: in other words, smartphone growth is outpacing and very much driving overall growth of online sales. Browsing [via desktop or tablet] continues to also be popular but is growing less fast: smartphones drove 54% of all site visits, up 19% on a year ago.” 

These stats may come as a surprise to those of us who like to sit back, kick our feet up, and troll low Amazon prices at home (or in the office) on our desktops... especially when we have to conduct pre-purchasing research, compare prices, and then enter card numbers and billing addresses. Many customers may opt for comfortable keyboards and larger screens (like a desktop versus a smartphone). 

But when you take into account the different influences of touch points throughout the consumer journey, the Cyber Monday numbers really aren’t a surprise when it comes to the unusually high percentages of purchases made on smartphones this year. Consumers have their mobile devices on them now more than ever, nearly constantly.

NBC predicts almost three quarters (72.6 percent) of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025, equivalent to nearly 3.7 billion people. “The time spent on smartphones is set to overtake the hours spent on accessing the internet from PCs. People are forecast to spend three hours 22 minutes on their smartphone every day this year, beating time spent online via a PC, laptop or tablet for the first time,” the report stated.

Media consumption to one-click purchases

We consume media through our mobile devices on our commutes, school, work, in bed, while eating, etc. As we scroll through digital touch points and media (Instagram/Facebook ads, Shopify, Yelp reviews, personalized Amazon recommendations, or other application-based content), we’re prompted with the instantaneous temptation of easily accessible purchasing, often times (depending upon account settings) with the click of a single button. 

In one of our CCW Digital Market Studies, we surveyed thousands of contact center leaders. While personalization is one of the most important components in delivering quality customer service, 81 percent said they prefer fast, convenient experiences over highly personalized ones. Mobile does both. 

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As mobile devices continue to move in the direction of user friendly interfaces (like comfortable keyboards and larger screens), the market for application development continues to grow exponentially, and the mobile friendly (or addicted) Gen Zers continue to enter the workforce (shifting purchasing power), mobile usage will increase.

As mobile usage increases, mobile advertising increases to attract customers, and so follows mobile sales, as we saw with this year’s Cyber Monday. 

Holiday shopping behavior is the perfect time of year to gain an insightful glimpse of 2020 consumer behavior trends. According to head of Adobe Digital Insights, Taylor Schreiner, “Consumers are reimagining what it means to shop during the holidays, with smartphones having a breakout season... We expect that consumers will spend $14 billion more this holiday season via their phones.” But the holiday season is merely a glimpse into the future of consumer purchasing trends.