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Online Ruled The Tech Retail Roost On Black Friday

TWICE parent Future plc saw 52% spike in e-commerce activity

The results are in, and online can arguably be crowned the new king of consumer tech shopping for Black Friday weekend.

“For the first time, more U.S. shoppers bought technology online than in stores,” reported Ben Arnold, senior director of innovation and trends for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). According to the trade group’s latest consumer survey, covering the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, 59 percent of shoppers made tech purchases online, compared with 58 percent that bought their holiday tech in brick-and-mortar stores.

While online’s lead was slim, “The importance is that it will continue to grow,” Arnold told TWICE.

Related: Thanksgiving Week Still Top For Tech

Arnold’s assertion was underscored by the robust holiday weekend turnout for TWICE parent Future plc, who’s online properties include such tech enthusiast sites as Tom’s Guide and TechRadar. The websites, which provide product news, reviews, best-deal assessments and buy-button links, saw a collective 52 percent year-over-year increase in e-commerce-related actions on Black Friday.

Specifically, e-commerce-related clicks were up 134 percent for Tom’s Guide, which enjoyed a 16 percent increase in traffic, while TechRadar recorded a 42 percent increase in click-throughs on Black Friday and a 69 percent spurt on Saturday (Nov. 24).

See: The End Of Black Friday As We Know It?

CTA’s Arnold said compelling promotions on 4K TVs — “the biggest star of the holiday” — helped drive the Thanksgiving weekend gains, while Adobe Analytics pointed to the popularity of buy-online-pick-up-in-store options (BOPIS) and the ease of shopping by phone. BOPIS purchases were up 65 percent year over year on Cyber Monday, Adobe’s research wing reported, suggesting that “retailer investments to bridge offline and online experiences are paying dividends.”

Meanwhile, Cyber Monday also represented the first time that more than half of online visits (54.3 percent) came from mobile devices, with smartphone-originated sales rising a record 55.6 percent, to $2.2 billion, Adobe said.

“Converting mobile traffic to sales has long been a thorn in the side of retailers, but investments in making the experience faster and easier have paid off,” observed Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights.

See: Mobile Commerce: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Similarly, the record rise in BOPIS orders signaled that “retailers are increasingly fulfilling consumer expectations for integrated cross-channel experiences,” she said.