Blog E-commerce app usage maxes out during th...

E-commerce app usage maxes out during the holiday season

We're inching closer to the holiday season and the traditional Black Friday shopping rush, which appears to have gotten an October head start this year. While we all look forward to some time off, for e-commerce marketers it's time to amp up their marketing strategies and go full focus. While there’s an element of predictability, every holiday season is different as consumer behavior continues to shift. This year’s challenges include soaring inflation, labor and supply chain shortages, and rising fuel prices.

All things considered, the Salesforce Shopping Index predicts that online holiday sales will hit $1.12 trillion globally in November and December 2022, remaining essentially flat in relation to  the 5% year-over-year increase to $1.14 trillion seen in November and December reported by Salesforce last year. However, Deloitte's holiday e-commerce forecast is more optimistic, predicting a 12.8% to 14.3% increase in holiday online sales in 2022 compared to 2021.

Higher prices have pushed consumers to seek value, prioritize and make strategic purchases, and shop earlier—expecting personalized experiences along the way. Retailers responded by beginning their holiday promotions and deals earlier, allowing shoppers to spread their budgets over a more extended period and snag the best deals. For instance, this year Amazon held its second Prime Day (Prime Early Access Sale) event for the first time ever on October 11 and 12.

As we get nearer to the shopping season's peak, e-commerce apps must boost and double down on their marketing efforts. While it’s an excellent time to maximize user acquisition budgets to pull in as many holiday shoppers as possible, amping up your retention strategy to hang on to these expensive new users could prove extremely beneficial moving into 2023.

In this article, we've analyzed installs, sessions, and session lengths of e-commerce apps in November over the last two years to help mobile marketers better understand user behavior and make the most of this holiday season—regardless of what shape it takes. We've also broken the data down by sub-vertical and region.

E-commerce installs peak in the first two weeks of November

According to Salesforce, a huge chunk (29%) of holiday sales will occur in the first three weeks of November. Adjust data also reflects this trend, as global installs of e-commerce apps peaked in the first two weeks of November 2021, and the average install rate in the first two weeks of November was 18% higher than the yearly average. Installs dropped slightly during the third week, however, they saw an impressive boost on Black Friday, where they were 31% higher than the 2021 average.

E-commerce sessions reach new heights on Black Friday

E-commerce app sessions in November 2021 were more varied, seeing huge growth during the second week of November and then the five days leading up to Black Friday, which charted the highest growth. While sessions in the second week of November were 15% higher than the yearly average, sessions on Black Friday were 23% higher.

Shopping and deal discovery apps come out on top

Global installs and sessions of shopping apps in November 2021 grew by a remarkable 24% compared to the yearly average. Installs and sessions of deal discovery apps in November last year rose 21% and 15%, respectively, compared to the 2021 averages, indicating shoppers' continued interest in the best deals and discounts.

Black Friday deals beat Cyber Monday

Adjust data shows that Black Friday is consumers' favorite shopping event in most regions. In EMEA, e-commerce app sessions on Black Friday were 32% higher than the yearly average, while Cyber Monday sessions saw a boost of 24%. In North America, sessions on Black Friday grew 10% and 9% on Cyber Monday, compared to the 2021 average, respectively. LATAM proved to be the lone exception, with e-commerce sessions increasing by 14% on Black Friday and 15% on Cyber Monday.

Consumers spent more time on e-commerce apps in November

The global average session length of e-commerce apps in November 2021 was 11.42 minutes, which outperformed the yearly average of 10.57 minutes. Black Friday itself also had a higher level of user engagement than average, as users spent 11.35 minutes on e-commerce apps. Experts suggest that Black Friday is a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items; therefore, shoppers spend more time finding the best deals. On Cyber Monday, you'll find more tech deals and smaller gifts. That's why session lengths were slightly shorter, hovering at 11.21 minutes in 2021—still well above the yearly average.

November session lengths grow year-over-year

Adjust data indicates that consumers are spending more time on e-commerce apps every year. Factors such as increased adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic and overall improvements in access to smartphones and mobile connectivity globally.  Concurrently, users appear to be investing more time in finding high-value items at the right price. Session lengths globally have increased year-over-year since 2019 for the entire e-commerce vertical, growing from 10.02 minutes to 10.73 minutes in 2020 and then reaching 11.42 minutes in 2021.

Singles Day – one of the biggest shopping days in APAC

Singles Day (November 11) has been celebrated by unmarried people in China since 1993, and Alibaba leveraged the occasion to generate more sales. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days in the world, especially in the U.S. and across Europe, it’s Singles Day that has been on the rise in APAC. On Singles Day 2019 in APAC, e-commerce app installs were 80% higher than the yearly average, with sessions up 25%., In 2020, installs and sessions performed at 43% and 9% above average, respectively. And in 2021, installs surged by a massive 122% on Singles Day, coupled with a sessions increase of 18%.

Session length on Singles Day 2021 at an all-time-high

The average time APAC consumers spend in e-commerce apps on Singles’ Day has consistently exceeded the yearly average and grown year-over-year. The average session length for e-commerce apps in APAC on Singles’ Day 2019 was 11.55 minutes. In 2020, the number decreased to 10.92 minutes, but by 2021 it hit a huge 16.38 minutes.

How can e-commerce apps make the most of this holiday season?

Planning and executing a marketing strategy for the holiday shopping season takes more than six months. Preparation is vital; however, mobile marketers must remain agile to adjust their promotion strategies and adapt to trends and unforeseen events week-by-week, sometimes even minute-by-minute. Although many shoppers planned to buy their holiday gifts earlier this year, last-minute shoppers are still likely to scramble to grab the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and many consumers leverage these dates for their festive season purchases. Here are some of the top ways mobile marketers can stand out from the competition to drive installs and engagement:

  • Increase growth by prioritizing user acquisition: The holiday shopping season is an excellent time to acquire new users. By focusing on data-driven acquisition tactics, you can identify, attract, and engage highly-relevant new customers during this critical period. After acquiring new customers early on, you can implement retention strategies to keep shoppers returning throughout and after the holiday shopping season. You can reward loyal customers with early access to Black Friday deals.
  • Leverage flash sales: Flash sales are easy to engage holiday shoppers without much planning. All you need is to know your goal, your target audience, what products you will sell, and how you will let your customers know about your flash sale. Getting the word out about your flash sale is best done by engaging existing customers or influencers. You can also put a countdown timer which adds urgency and encourages shoppers to act quickly.
  • Utilize app analytics to understand user behavior: Mobile marketers must use app analytics to get a holistic view of what their customers are doing. App analytics can help you better understand what shoppers need and expect during the holidays and beyond. Understanding your users' preferences and behavior will allow you to tailor experiences for them, ultimately leading to sales and loyalty. Additionally, solutions like Adjust's Datascape can show you what works across all campaigns and channels and help you make the right marketing decisions to drive your app's growth.

Looking for more tips for your e-commerce app? Check our resources section on E-commerce apps for our latest articles, e-books, and reports or download Mobile app trends 2022 here.

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