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Staples, Best Buy Had An Appy Thanksgiving

As more shoppers let their fingers do the walking with smartphones and tablets on Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend, mobile shopping apps also played a bigger role in the buying frenzy.

Thanks in part to a rise in app-only sales promotions, retailers saw an average 60 percent increase in mobile app use from the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week through Black Friday, a new report shows.

According to digital analytics firm SimilarWeb, the biggest peak in app engagement was between Wednesday and Thursday, when app use increased on average by 44 percent.

Among leading U.S. retailers, Staples showed the biggest surge in retail app usage, up 221 percent for the three-day period year over year.

Best Buy was second in active app use by customers, up 119 percent, followed by Overstock (up 107 percent), Gap (up 94 percent) and QVC (up 90 percent).

But Amazon’s shopping app may have had the most frequent visits, with users checking back around three times a day to snag a flash sale, the researchers said.

“This shopping season has been the year of the app,” noted digital insights manager Pascal Cohen. “Shoppers opened retails apps in droves, keeping an eye on deals and returning throughout the day to grab the best bargains.”

The key takeaway: Apps should be employed as but one element in a well-orchestrated online arsenal. “The best performing retailers managed to see successful growth across apps, mobile and desktop, offering a seamless service across all of these sales points,” Cohen said.