Apple Dominates Mobile Holiday Shopping in 2014

During the 2014 holiday shopping season, 38.5 percent of online transactions originated in a search query.

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Holiday e-commerce revenue in 2014 was up 15.6 percent over 2013, continuing the strong mid-teen growth streak of the past four years, according to a report by predictive analytics specialist Custora.

One out of four online purchases was made on a mobile device this season. Black Friday was deemed “Mobile Friday,” with nearly a third of purchases that day made on phones and tablets. The figure is up 22.5% from Black Friday 2013.

The mobile trend was even more pronounced on Thanksgiving Day when mobile shopping constituted over a third (34.3 percent) of all e-commerce transactions.

During the 2014 holiday shopping season, 38.5 percent of online transactions originated in a search query. Free search drove 21 percent of orders and paid search drove 17.5 percent.

Overall, the top shopping days were similar across 2013 and 2014, with Cyber Monday and Black Friday firmly on top. Two other noteworthy online shopping days were Green Monday on Dec. 8 and the following Monday,, sometimes known as Free Shipping Day.

Despite strong year-over-year revenue growth of 17.7 percent, Thanksgiving did not make it to the top 20 biggest shopping days this holiday season.

Apple is still the leader in mobile shopping, with almost 80 percent of holiday mobile orders occurring on iPhones and iPads.

"There are a lot of possible explanations for why Apple devices dominate the mobile shopping scene," Corey Pierson, Custora’s CEO, told eWEEK. "These might include the ubiquity of Apple devices in the U.S. market, their ease of use, and the fact they're better suited for shopping and have more shopping apps available."

Four out of five mobile orders or 79.1% were placed on Apple devices, while only 20.4 percent were placed on Android devices. Still, Apple’s share is down from 84.1 percent during holiday 2013, while Android is up from 15.5 percent.

Apple’s e-commerce dominance is even stronger on tablets, with 82.9 percent of tablet e-commerce orders taking place on iPads.

Other tablets, such as Samsungs’s Galaxy Tab, Amazon’s Fire, and Google’s Nexus, split the remaining 17.1 percent.

Email marketing and online search (free and paid) were the dominant marketing channels this holiday season.

Overall, 2014 proved to be another strong year for online shopping in the U.S., with year-over-year revenue growth of 15.7 percent in the first quarter through the third quarter, according to US Department of Commerce estimates, and 15.6 percent revenue growth in the holiday shopping season of November and December, according to Custora’s estimates.

"As indicated in our report, mobile shopping has grown consistently in the last four years. This growth will undoubtedly continue in 2015. The major factor fueling the growth will be improved mobile conversion rates,” Pierson said. "As more retailers improve their mobile shopping experiences with dedicated apps and optimized mobile Web stores, conversion rates on mobile devices, both tablets and phones, will improve, and the share of transactions taking place on mobile will grow."