Thanksgiving Day — traditionally a holiday spent “offline” with family — now presents an unique online opportunity for retailers. Ad agency Digitas dubbed the day “Mobile Thursday” after research showed that consumers are ever increasingly using their mobile devices to shop on Thanksgiving, especially right after the turkey dinner. According to IBM/Coremetrics e-commerce data, 15% of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site last Thanksgiving Day, more than double the 6.5% from 2010. A new study released by Digitas shows that figure is once again expected to double this year. In a survey conducted among 2,059 adults who own a smartphone or tablet, 28% say that they plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day using their devices. Among young adults age 18-34, that figure increases to 40%.

As use of mobile devices become more commonplace at Thanksgiving festivities, savvy retailers such as eBay, HSN, RueLaLa and Toys”R”Us are capitalizing on the growing trend. eBay plans to launch 20 mobile-only deals through its eBay Mobile application at both 5:23 EST and PST, the time that research suggests most Americans finish their holiday meal. Flash sale sites RueLaLa and Ideeli will both launch post Thanksgiving dinner shops targeted at tablet users. Even traditionally TV focused HSN will unveil a tablet holiday gift guide and send exclusive mobile deals on Thanksgiving.

“The fact that it’s just about a 100 percent year-over-year increase shows the big behavioral change that mobile devices are causing, ” says Chia Chen, mobile practice lead at Digitas. “Mobile is not just a channel—it’s really about this kind of technology-driven cultural change. [It’s] a wake up call to make sure that you are absolutely ready as a retailer and a brand to actually interact and engage with consumers via the mobile channel and the mobile devices.”

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