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More consumers are shelving the traditional, daylong Black Friday shopping experience for short, burst-like purchases made with their smartphones that are spread out over a period of time, or what Google is calling "micro-moments."
"This holiday season, shopping 'moments' will replace shopping 'marathons,'" the company said on its blog Tuesday.
About 54% of holiday shoppers said they plan to shop on their smartphones during free time while commuting or eating breakfast, according to Google, who analyzed data and worked with Ipsos MediaCT to survey consumers on their holiday shopping behavior.
The study revealed that big, marathon-like shopping days are becoming less frequent. In 2014, Google said it saw steady consumer shopping interest all season long, with fewer pronounced spikes on traditional shopping days such as the morning of Black Friday.
"This type of shopping has lead to shorter, more purposeful mobile shopping sessions," the company said. "In fact, while shoppers now spend 7% less time in each mobile session, smartphone's share of online shopping purchases has gone up 64% over the last year, and 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones."
About 61% of holiday shoppers will start researching their purchases before the Thanksgiving weekend, up 17% from last year, Google said. Even though consumer research starts early, the majority of purchasing will happen later into the holiday season, the company said.
Last year, 133.7 million consumers shopped in stores and online during Thanksgiving weekend, down 5% from 2013, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Total spending fell 11% to $50.9 billion, according to the survey.
Still, the traditional Black Friday consumer-experience of waking up early and camping outside a retail store is still alive and well, as evidenced by the scores of customers who wait outside Walmarts and Best Buys hoping to score a deal. However, some experts might argue that Black Friday is due for a dethroning, pointing to weaker sales figures and other popular shopping times such as the weekend before Christmas, or Super Saturday, to overtake what has traditionally been the busiest shopping time of year.
Consumers Look to Mobile Devices for Holiday Research
More consumers are using their smartphones in all parts of the shopping process, and shopping-related searches on mobile have grown more than 120% year-over-year. Additionally, the company said it is seeing a rise in mobile's influence on local commerce.
"More than half (52%) of shoppers plan to use a smartphone for holiday shopping this year before they visit a store, and a whopping 82% of smartphone users will consult their phone while in a store," Google said. "People are searching 37% more inside department stores than they were last year."
Additionally, 40% of those surveyed said they are likely to use their smartphones to pay in stores this holiday season.
Sunday remains the most popular day for shopping on smartphones. "On average, mobile shopping searches are 18% higher on Sundays than the rest of the week," the company said.
Videos will also play a role in consumer spend this holiday season, with Google citing one in four shoppers will use them as their go-to source for gift ideas.