White Gift Box with Red Ribbon and Bow Near Man Typing on Laptop Computer.

Black Friday Lags as Shoppers Buy Across the Long Weekend Through to Cyber Monday

White Gift Box with Red Ribbon and Bow Near Man Typing on Laptop Computer.Black Friday doesn’t have the make or break, one-day-only mystique for retailers as it once did. It’s not just the notorious reputation of brick-and-mortar crowds that have shoppers less than thrilled, it’s that shoppers have more options than ever before. In an effort to lure consumers out of their Thanksgiving shells, retailers have extended the holiday bargains – some opening their doors on the holiday while others offered a week of sales leading up to the main event. Many, however, look to their online e-commerce portals to woo shoppers, and it was a good bet because this year online shopping paid off big time.

While Adobe estimates that retailers pulled around $11 billion in sales combined for all three shopping days – Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday – overall, retailers saw foot traffic decline 5% and saw brick and mortar sales down overall for Black Friday. But the real winner and real growth was seen in online shopping across the week.

That shift into online shopping hits hardest stores that sell apparel, department stores, toy stores, electronic stores and the mobile phones but losses on the store floor can be recouped online. But the real story, beyond online shopping rates finally rivaling (or in some cases topping) retail shopping rates, is how more of that online shopping is occurring on mobile devices than ever before.

Mobile web traffic was up across all three shopping days. Thanksgiving online shopping numbers were strong, likely boosted by shoppers already being off and not all retailers being open. Mobile traffic comprised 60% of online visitors and 40% of their sales. And in what must be good news for Apple, iPhones had the lion’s share of that mobile pie.

On Black Friday, as shoppers had both web and retail stores to choose from, and while they may have on-average spent 5 hours in stores, web traffic surged. Half of all web traffic came from mobile devices, yet when it came time to press the buy button, 72% of  shoppers made that purchase on a laptop or desktop computer. Some speculate that savvy shoppers did both at the same time, using their smart phones and laptops to price check while they were in stores.

Cyber Monday did live up to its title as the biggest online shopping day of the US calendar year, bringing in $3.07 billion and topping last year’s best day (which happened to be Black Friday). Cyber Monday sales across all devices rose 21% over last year, with desktop sales rising 12% over last year and mobile sales increased a whopping 53%. Desktop still beat out mobile in volume, $2.28 billion to mobile’s $838 million, but it’s not hard to imagine that mobile Cyber Monday sales will top a billion next year.

What does this mean for retail? More importantly, what does it mean for e-commerce security? The temptation to lower one’s guard down for that single, hot shopping day – dialing down the rules that traditional fraud follows in order to capture as many potential legitimate sales as possible. It’s questionable whether or not that was a winning strategy, letting in more potential fraud in the hopes of better conversion, but is it still a good idea when the shopping bonanza gets stretched out to five or more days?

What do you do if you think your existing system is turning away legitimate sales due to draconian rule sets the don’t work well enough? You may be tempted to temporarily lower online defenses – even knowing that fraudsters have been creating sleeper accounts and testing credit cards. But maybe it’s the rule set and the old way of securing your transactions that has to go on final clearance? Why choose between security and revenue when you can lock in on your known good users with biometric and behavioral analytics? Not only that, but when you have a trusted, verified user, you can go further, offering them streamlined experiences and even better deals. As shopping grows ever-more mobile, and users become increasingly hostile to high-friction security measures, the time to switch over to newer, more secure methods that offer friction-free security with unparalleled accuracy is now.