Retail Mobile Search Greater on Christmas Eve Than Black Friday

Millions of holiday shoppers turn to mobile devices to find last-minute gifts at the nearest brick-and-mortar store on Mobile Eve

New YorkDec. 17, 2013xAd, a global mobile-location ad platform, has released research revealing that retail-related mobile search activity surges on Christmas Eve, with 24 percent more mobile search activity than Black Friday. This phenomenon, which is a result of last-minute shoppers scrambling to locate nearby retail stores that remain open with the hope of purchasing holiday gifts, is called Mobile Eve.

Growing adoption and use of mobile devices has amplified retail behavior, allowing consumers to research, locate, and sometimes even purchase nearly anything they desire immediately and on the go. However, this ease of access to retail information via smartphones leads to purchase procrastination, increasing last-minute shopping activity—especially during the holiday season.

While terms like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become staples of retail vernacular, the mobile retail search phenomenon leading up to Christmas and other popular gifting holidays has not been discussed in detail. Data from xAd’s mobile-location platform reveals that, while black Friday activity on mobile devices is still significant, the greater emphasis on last-minute retail shopping on gift-giving holidays like Christmas prompts even more retail search activity on mobile phones. Mobile Eve gives retailers a unique window of opportunity and one final chance to achieve intended share of voice and overall holiday sales goals.                         

xAd’s data reveals that mobile search activity ramps up just three days before Christmas, with mobile activity levels similar to Black Friday. Then, on Christmas Eve, last-minute needs reach a fever pitch when consumers search for the nearest open retail location to find and purchase those last-minute gifts. Mobile retail search activity on what is now called Mobile Eve surpasses that of Black Friday by 24 percent. At this point, brick-and-mortar stores are not just a preference over mobile or online purchase, they’re a necessity, with no time to have items shipped.

According to Monica Ho, vice president of marketing at xAd, “Because Mobile Eve demonstrates user preference in finding and visiting physical storefronts, retailers can take advantage of this opportunity to reach retail procrastinators and drive them in store.”

While the last-minute trends experienced during Mobile Eve are naturally more extreme due to the sheer volume of dollars being spent during the holiday season, other major retail holidays demonstrate similar procrastination activity—eased by the use of mobile search via smartphones. Earlier this year, xAd released reports documenting mobile search activity found on its platform during Mother’s Day and Halloween, both of which illustrated a spike in mobile-related interest in the days leading up to the actual holiday.

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