Nov 16 Retailers are targeting "post-pie"
commerce, the jump in shopping created by the boom in
smartphones and tablet computers which Thanksgiving diners grab
as they collapse onto the couch after eating turkey and pumpkin
While people relax with family and friends or watch football
on TV, they are increasingly shopping online with these mobile
gadgets, creating a surge in traffic and purchases that
retailers are beginning to target for the first time this year.
"This is a new shoppable moment," said Steve Yankovich, who
heads the mobile business of eBay Inc, operator of the
largest online marketplace.
Before the rise of smartphones and tablets, it was socially
unacceptable to pull out a laptop after Thanksgiving dinner, or
head to a home office to fire up a desktop computer, Yankovich
"With a tablet or smartphone you don't get that reaction,"
EBay recently surveyed more than 1,000 shoppers in the
United States about their holiday shopping plans. Almost two
thirds said holiday sales should begin after Thanksgiving dinner
and respondents said their meals would end, on average, at 5:23
p.m. EST (2223 GMT).
Based on that feedback, eBay plans to launch 20 mobile-only
deals through its eBay Mobile application at 5:23 p.m. EST this
Thanksgiving. The company plans 20 more at 5:23 p.m. PST for
West Coast shoppers.
Other retailers including Toys "R" Us, HSN Inc
, Rue La La and ideeli are also targeting mobile
shoppers this Thanksgiving in the evening.
"The iPad holiday sales season starts at the point of
indigestion while you're sitting on the couch after Thanksgiving
dinner," said Ben Fischman, chief executive of Rue La La, which
specializes in online limited-time fashion sales events known as
Post-pie commerce is the latest example of how mobile
devices, in particular Apple Inc's iPad and iPhone, are
changing consumer behavior and forcing retailers to adapt
The holiday shopping season traditionally kicks off with
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers use a day
off from work to head to stores.
The following Monday became a big online shopping day known
as Cyber Monday because people returned to the office and
shopped using their office computers.
Now Thanksgiving is emerging as a big new shopping day
online. The value of e-commerce transactions on Turkey Day has
surged 128 percent to $479 million over the past five years,
outpacing the growth of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other big
holiday shopping days, according to comScore Inc.
That's a far cry from the $1.25 billion spent online on
Cyber Monday last year, but the growth has caught retailers'
"It's still a smaller day, but it is growing much faster,"
said Andrew Lipsman of comScore. "We're seeing a lot more talk
about Thanksgiving becoming a more important shopping day."
Several big retailers, including Target Corp, are
opening physical stores on Thanksgiving to make sure they don't
lose sales to online rivals.
"Consumers that would rather shop than watch 12 hours of
football on Thanksgiving Day should be given the chance to
shop," Marshal Cohen of The NPD Group wrote in a blog on
Thursday. "If online is open, why should brick-and-mortar close
just to give away those precious shopping hours to the
Thanksgiving evening is where the action is online. By 3
p.m. EST last year online sales were up about 20 percent
compared to the same period in 2010, according to IBM Software
Group, a unit of International Business Machines Corp.
But by midnight PST on Thanksgiving 2011, online sales were
up 39 percent versus the same period the previous year, IBM data
show. Overall, November 2011 online sales rose 15.6 percent
compared to the year-earlier period.
"Post-pie shopping this year will be fueled mostly by tablet
shoppers, especially iPad users," said Jay Henderson, global
strategy director for IBM's enterprise marketing management
In September and October, the iPad accounted for at least
7.5 percent of all traffic to retailers' websites, beating out
the iPhone with about 6 percent and Android devices at just over
4 percent, IBM data show.
"This is the first time the iPad has shown sustained
leadership over all other mobile devices," Henderson said.
Last Thanksgiving, retailers were surprised by the surge in
tablet traffic in the evening. They also did not expect the
devices would be used to complete so many purchases, instead
expecting them to be browsing devices mostly, according to Steve
Tack, chief technology officer for APM Solutions, a unit
of Compuware Corp.
"Tablet users are not waiting for Black Friday or Cyber
Monday to purchase, they are doing it on Thursday night on the
couch in front of the game," he said. "This is a significant new
This year, retailers are more prepared, he added.
Rue La La will launch an online boutique called "The Holiday
Dash" at 8 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving, "specifically to go after
the shopper who will be sitting at home after dinner on the
couch," CEO Fischman said.
More than half of Rue La La's sales over Thanksgiving, Black
Friday and the following weekend will come from mobile devices.
Half of those mobile purchases will be on an iPad, he said.
Fischman said the conversion rate on an iPad is close to
double the conversion rate on a smart phone, meaning shoppers
are more than twice as likely to purchase using the tablet
"The tablet offers the luxury of a larger screen with the
convenience and portability of the phone," Fischman said. "It's
the killer e-commerce device."
Ideeli, a rival to Rue La La, plans a "Think Fast" online
sales event at 6 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving to target tablet
shoppers. Ideeli usually runs sales at noon every day.
Toys "R" Us, the largest toy retailer, launched a
new tablet-optimized website on Tuesday and the company plans to
make all its Black Friday deals available online at 8 p.m. EST
HSN, which runs the Home Shopping Network and has
traditionally focused on TV sales, on Tuesday unveiled an online
holiday gift guide designed for tablet shoppers.
The company plans to send discounted deals to mobile
shoppers on Thanksgiving.
"When people are done with the holiday meal and go back into
the screen world, we will have great products on sale," said
Jill Braff, executive vice president of Digital Commerce at HSN.