Thanksgiving. A beloved holiday celebrated in the US with family, football, the aroma of roasting turkey, and for many, the kickoff of the busiest shopping season of the year.
Holiday shopping is crucial for the economy – it is estimated that around 30% of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. And while some shoppers find the rush of a midnight drive to the shopping mall exhilarating, a growing number of consumers prefer to shop online, fueling a record growth of Black Friday e-commerce. According to data published by Adobe, last year’s online shoppers collectively spent $4.45 billion during the holiday season: $2.72 billion on Black Friday (14 percent more than the previous year), and $1.73 billion on Thanksgiving Day (25 percent more than the previous year ). And what’s more, mobile devices drove 53 percent of shopping visits on Black Friday, with smartphones generating a record 22 percent share of sales (a 70 percent increase over the previous year).
This year’s predictions remain high, forecasting a 4% rise in personal shopping, yet a number of shoppers lining up for door buster deals at physical stores is expected to decline even further. With several major retail outlets announcing that they will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day, even more business is expected to shift online, including mobile channels.
Mobile commerce first entered the scene as a serious trend around 2009. Consumers began by using their mobile devices to research products before buying them at a physical store and compare prices, and Sears was the first retailer to introduce a fully e-commerce enabled mobile site. Today, holiday shopping has grown to be the busiest time of year for the communications service providers.
Data shows that traffic increases 74 percent the day before Thanksgiving, and on Thanksgiving Day, mobile shopping traffic increases 158 percent compared to the week prior. And the rush doesn’t slow down after the gifts have been exchanged: December 25-27 is the busiest time for new device activations and the busiest time of year for app downloads. On Christmas Day in 2015, mobile analytics firm Flurry tracked 2.2x as many app installs as on an average day in December.
Throughout all this holiday activity, consumers of course expect that the IT systems and apps that make the digital commerce possible will work as expected. After 18 months in my role in testing services at Amdocs, I have a great appreciation for all the hard work that goes into ensuring the quality, billing accuracy, performance, high availability, security and operational excellence required. By relying on our testing services to ensure that these processes are working smoothly, our customers are able to stay focused on core their business, and on their customers.