Retailers are targeting "post-pie" commerce, the jump in shopping
created by the boom in smartphones and tablet computers which
Thanksgiving diners grab as they collapse onto the couch after eating
turkey and pumpkin pie.
While people relax with family and friends or
watch football on TV, they are increasingly shopping online with these
mobile gadgets, creating a surge in traffic and purchases that retailers
are beginning to target for the first time this year.
"This is a
new shoppable moment," said Steve Yankovich, who heads the mobile
business of eBay Inc, operator of the largest online marketplace.
the rise of smartphones and tablets, it was socially unacceptable to
pull out a laptop after Thanksgiving dinner, or head to a home office to
fire up a desktop computer, Yankovich explained.
"With a tablet or smartphone you don't get that reaction," he added.
recently surveyed more than 1,000 shoppers in the United States about
their holiday shopping plans. Almost two thirds said holiday sales
should begin after Thanksgiving dinner and respondents said their meals
would end, on average, at 5:23 p.m. EST (2223 GMT).
Based on that
feedback, eBay plans to launch 20 mobile-only deals through its eBay
Mobile application at 5:23 p.m. EST this Thanksgiving. The company plans
20 more at 5:23 p.m. PST for West Coast shoppers.
Other retailers including Toys "R" Us , HSN Inc , Rue La La and ideeli are also targeting mobile shoppers this Thanksgiving in the evening.
iPad holiday sales season starts at the point of indigestion while
you're sitting on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner," said Ben
Fischman, chief executive of Rue La La, which specializes in online
limited-time fashion sales events known as flash sales.
Post-pie commerce is the latest example of how mobile devices, in particular Apple Inc's iPad and iPhone, are changing consumer behavior and forcing retailers to adapt quickly.
holiday shopping season traditionally kicks off with Black Friday, the
day after Thanksgiving when shoppers use a day off from work to head to
The following Monday became a big online shopping day
known as Cyber Monday because people returned to the office and shopped
using their office computers.
Now Thanksgiving is emerging as a
big new shopping day online. The value of e-commerce transactions on
Turkey Day has surged 128 percent to $479 million over the past five
years, outpacing the growth of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other big
holiday shopping days, according to comScore Inc .
That's a far cry from the $1.25 billion spent online on Cyber Monday last year, but the growth has caught retailers' attention.
still a smaller day, but it is growing much faster," said Andrew
Lipsman of comScore. "We're seeing a lot more talk about Thanksgiving
becoming a more important shopping day."
Several big retailers, including Target Corp , are opening physical stores on Thanksgiving to make sure they don't lose sales to online rivals.
that would rather shop than watch 12 hours of football on Thanksgiving
Day should be given the chance to shop," Marshal Cohen of The NPD Group
wrote in a blog on Thursday. "If online is open, why should
brick-and-mortar close just to give away those precious shopping hours
to the competition?"
Thanksgiving evening is where the action is
online. By 3 p.m. EST last year online sales were up about 20 percent
compared to the same period in 2010, according to IBM Software Group, a
unit of International Business Machines Corp .
by midnight PST on Thanksgiving 2011, online sales were up 39 percent
versus the same period the previous year, IBM data show. Overall,
November 2011 online sales rose 15.6 percent compared to the
"Post-pie shopping this year will be fueled
mostly by tablet shoppers, especially iPad users," said Jay Henderson,
global strategy director for IBM's enterprise marketing management
In September and October, the iPad accounted for at
least 7.5 percent of all traffic to retailers' websites, beating out the
iPhone with about 6 percent and Android devices at just over 4 percent,
IBM data show.
"This is the first time the iPad has shown sustained leadership over all other mobile devices," Henderson said.
Thanksgiving, retailers were surprised by the surge in tablet traffic
in the evening. They also did not expect the devices would be used to
complete so many purchases, instead expecting them to be browsing
devices mostly, according to Steve Tack, chief technology officer for
APM Solutions, a unit of Compuware Corp .
users are not waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to purchase,
they are doing it on Thursday night on the couch in front of the game,"
he said. "This is a significant new shopping event."
This year, retailers are more prepared, he added.
La La will launch an online boutique called "The Holiday Dash" at 8
p.m. EST on Thanksgiving, "specifically to go after the shopper who will
be sitting at home after dinner on the couch," CEO Fischman said.
than half of Rue La La's sales over Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the
following weekend will come from mobile devices. Half of those mobile
purchases will be on an iPad, he said.
Fischman said the
conversion rate on an iPad is close to double the conversion rate on a
smart phone, meaning shoppers are more than twice as likely to purchase
using the tablet device.
"The tablet offers the luxury of a larger
screen with the convenience and portability of the phone," Fischman
said. "It's the killer e-commerce device."
Ideeli, a rival to Rue
La La, plans a "Think Fast" online sales event at 6 p.m. EST on
Thanksgiving to target tablet shoppers. Ideeli usually runs sales at
noon every day.
Toys "R" Us , the largest toy retailer,
launched a new tablet-optimized website on Tuesday and the company plans
to make all its Black Friday deals available online at 8 p.m. EST on
HSN, which runs the Home Shopping Network
and has traditionally focused on TV sales, on Tuesday unveiled an online
holiday gift guide designed for tablet shoppers.
The company plans to send discounted deals to mobile shoppers on Thanksgiving.
people are done with the holiday meal and go back into the screen
world, we will have great products on sale," said Jill Braff, executive
vice president of Digital Commerce at HSN.
© Thomson Reuters 2012