Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) said Monday that the overwhelming majority of users it attracted to its massive Black Friday online event visited using their smartphones and other mobile devices.
According to WMT, mobile traffic accounted for greater than 70% of its Black Friday event traffic. And it wasn’t alone in seeing a massive mobile increase.
Researchers at ChannelAdvisor noted that overall mobile commerce orders for the consumer holiday surpassed computer orders for the first time in history this year. If you combine both smartphone and tablets, then 77.8% of Thanksgiving Day traffic took place on a mobile device.
The conversion rate — or the percentage of visitors that actually complete a purchase — remained low for mobile devices, however. Smartphones saw just a 2.1% conversion rate on Thanksgiving Day, while tablets saw a 3.9% conversion rate. Both of those figures are on par with rates seen in the past few years, ChannelAdvisor said.
Despite low conversion rates, the sheer number of users searching for deals are expected to lead to record Thanksgiving weekend sales. Along with Walmart, other retailers like Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) also saw a huge mobile boost, noting that Thanksgiving Day mobile users were up 100%.
What this seismic shift will ultimately mean for retailers remains to be seen, but companies who have invested big money into their mobile apps and websites — along with infrastructure upgrades to handle the rise in orders — stand to benefit the most.
Walmart shares were unchanged in premarket trading Monday at $71.23. Year-to-date, the world’s largest retailer’s stock has gained 16.2%.