Holiday Mobile Report

Holiday Mobile Report

Mobile trends moving into the 2016 holiday season

A Very Merry Mobile Holiday

Whether or not 2016 marks the first year where mobile takes the lead in terms of online shopping, the role that smartphones and digital tablets already have on retail is significant and growing. Hundreds of the top retail sites now get a majority of visits from mobile devices and 56% of retail searches are now initiated on a mobile device. Mobile search is even more central when it comes to searches for gifts and other top-secret purchases. Understanding these trends and ensuring that your organization has a well mapped out plan for engaging consumers via mobile is critical.

This report highlights research from Hitwise revealing that from the earliest stages of the shopping experience up until the moment a transaction takes place, mobile is a force to be taken seriously.

US Holiday Mobile: Share of Visits

Heading into the 2016 holiday season, nearly half (46%) of visits to the Hitwise Retail 500, a collection of the top online retail sites, are from mobile devices. That’s 28% higher than the average—36% of visits to all sites are mobile—so online retailers are already ahead of the game when it comes to handling mobile visits.

One-in-4 of the top retail sites are now mobile dominant receiving 50% of visits from smartphones or tablets. Retailers that send a high volume of email or that commonly offer discounts are among those with the greatest share of mobile visits. This is likely a result of consumers increasingly accessing email via their phone as well as shoppers searching for deals they know are readily available from within a store.

US Holiday Mobile: Retail Share

Mobile Search

US Holiday Mobile: Search by Industry

Search is more mobile than site visits. In fact, 56% of retail searches are initiated on a mobile device. Food & Beverage searches, another popular category during the holidays are even more mobile dominant with 72% of such searches originating from a smartphone or tablet.

Naturally, retail searches seeking store hours and locations are among those most heavily skewed towards mobile devices. But searches for gifts, especially big ones that are supposed to be a surprise (e.g., engagement rings) are more mobile than average.

US Holiday Mobile: Industries

Searches for discounts and coupons are also initiated on mobile devices more often than not, confirming consumers are in-play well after they enter your store.

Those opening their homes to friends and family during the festive season will be reaching for their phones for inspiration or advice when it comes to food and drink.

For instance, 88% of food searches starting with “is” or “are” (as in, “is soy sauce vegan?”) are initiated on a mobile device. The smartphone has also become the modern Bartender’s Bible as more than 9-in-10 searches mentioning “shots” come from a mobile phone.

US Holiday Mobile: More Industries

The holidays may be a time for indulgence, but plenty of Americans will be checking for calorie counts and reaching for their phones to do so.


Search is almost twice as likely to drive a visit to the Hitwise Retail 500 via mobile than it is via a desktop. Shopping sites, too, play an outsized role in driving retail\ visits on mobile devices, something that further illustrates the indispensable role of smartphones as a shopping tool.

US Holiday Mobile: Clickstream
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