The American ‘holiday,’ Black Friday, which in recent years has been notable for interrupting family Thanksgiving dinners, will cease to exist this November, due to complications from digital commerce. Americans can finally welcome freedom from the hectic shopping spree that was Black Friday. This year, many consumers will bypass the crowds and simply pop open their laptop to scroll through the deals, supporting the projected 20% increase in online Black Friday shopping this year.
We can’t say we didn’t see this coming. In 2013, almost half of consumers turned to their mobile phone, while nestled amongst family members and pumpkin pie, to shop via mobile shopping applications over the Thanksgiving weekend, a number which is predicted to increase this year. The 2014 holiday shopping survey from Accenture showed that 25% of US consumers plan to spend more during these holidays compared to last year. There are predictions in the marketplace that the 2014 holiday shopping will witness a full cyber week of shopping with consumers using mobile payments and consequently, as more cash changes hands online and on wireless connectivity, will see an increase in concerns over security of these transactions.
Cyber Monday will meld into an entire cyber week for the first time this year. Online shopping is predicted to “crush” Black Friday numbers and the deals offered online will likely be the same or better – meaning customers will stay home and shop, beginning before Thanksgiving and continuing through the weekend. With many stores offering discounts on shipping, it is certain that online shopping will grow massively this year.
Retailers will need to concentrate on their online presence rather than long lines and overstocking to succeed in the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Mobile shopping applications will need to be up to par, because two thirds of smartphone and tablet owners who have attempted to buy online had to abandon the purchase due to difficulties with the checkout process. Retailers should ensure that their website is optimized for the web before the holiday season, and will do even better if they offer a mobile shopping app that can accept payments.
Mobile Christmas shopping will increase this year, whether or not retailers are prepared. In 2013, 88% of respondents to a survey had used their mobile for Christmas shopping. Of these consumers, 71% were using the mobile web and 21% used shopping apps. Even on Black Friday last year, the amount of consumers using mobile shopping apps rose by 86% when compared to typical usage rates. With increased penetration of smartphones and higher use of mobile shopping apps, these numbers will surely rise this year.
In-store mobile payments could also see an increase due to the recent launch of ApplePay and increased competition from similar payment solutions. New mobile payment schemes are predicted to coincide with an increase in the number of discounts made available for shoppers using their mobile devices to pay, which could, in turn, drive an increase in mobile point-of-sale transactions.
Payment security will be very important for consumers this year, after the ‘year of the hack’ with prominent retailers such as Target and Home Depot seeing large-scale data breaches. Almost half of Americans said they try to avoid shopping at stores affected by data breaches within the last year. Those not using digital payment methods in-store will default to cash for security reasons; in fact, 48% of major credit and debit card holders plan to pay with cash more frequently this holiday season as a direct response to data breaches.
Security concerns may also influence the death of Black Friday. Although almost half of consumers in a survey said they shop online on a weekly basis, most said that they are concerned about authentication and mobile security.
Cyber Week 2014 will demonstrate an increase in online shopping, mobile commerce and mobile payments for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Good riddance, Black Friday.