My mother-in-law reached 19 on Angry Birds over the weekend, something that would fit in the “who cares” category except for the fact that she is 83 years old. And she was unsatisfied until she could play the game on both her iPhone and iPad.
My sister-in-law, who is in her mid-fifties, and her husband, who is about 10 years her senior, made purchases via smartphone and tablet for the first time on a Black Friday. What they bought is irrelevant. That they bought anything via wireless brings to life all the stats from IBM, PayPal, eBay, and others about the significance of the growth in mobile purchasing this beginning of the holiday season.
The numbers from these tracking organizations tell us plenty. But I’ll argue that we learn more from observing those around us.
First the Black Friday data:
PayPal saw a 193 percent increase in mobile payment volume on Black Friday 2012 than Black Friday 2011. Between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. PST was the busiest mobile shopping hour on Black Friday 2012. Shoppers in these cities made the most mobile purchases through PayPal on Black Friday: Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.
eBay experienced a 153 boost in mobile U.S. volume. That followed eBay a 133 percent increase in mobile U.S. volume transacted on Thanksgiving.
IBM said that mobile purchases soared with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2011.
Additionally, the iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping. This was followed by iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android 5.5 percent. The iPad dominated tablet traffic at 88.3 percent followed by the Barnes and Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.
Finally, according to IBM, consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best bargains. Overall 58 percent of consumers used smartphones compared to 41 percent who used tablets to surf for bargains on Black Friday.
Let’s get back to the activities in my house.
We’re seemingly one of the few families left in America that gets a newspaper dropped on our driveway every morning. Thursday’s Seattle Times was, as my father-in-law was known to say, “plum-full” of ads and inserts. However, none drove any of us to retail locations. Instead they provided ideas into what others wanted as presents. Interestingly, there weren’t any QR codes in the ads, which wasn’t a miss in my home since neither my wife nor my in-laws have scanners on their phones, much less interest in interacting with brands that way.
Catalogues also made an appearance at the dining room table. No purchases were made. It was more like a homemade version of showrooming – lots of looking, but no one grabbed the car keys for a trip to the mall.
The initial holiday lists included an iPad Smart Cover for my brother in law and a Kate Spade protector for my mother-in-law’s iPhone. Other accessories for the new technology were discussed.
My takeaway from the weekend? Mobile’s early adopter phase has officially ended.