PayPal: Nearly 1/3 of Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping was done on mobile

With the “official” start of the holiday shopping season behind us, the time now has come to see what damage we have done to our checkbooks. Many in the commerce space have already come out with their own analysis, but today it’s PayPal’s turn and what it’s saying is that mobile shopping isn’t a fad and has seen wider usage during the Thanksgiving holiday than before. In fact, approximately one-third of its transactions were done through a mobile device.

The online payment processing platform surveyed 192 million active customer accounts and 15 million active merchant accounts to pull together its data, saying that the total payment volume (TPV) per second on Thanksgiving was $10,781 versus $15,507 the day after. Interestingly, the largest purchase made took place not on Black Friday, with $75,849 being spent on Thanksgiving — it was $53,500 the next day.

This trend is similar to that of other reports, including the ones from Adobe which claimed that mobile purchases helped to contribute more than $1 billion in revenue on Black Friday.

One possible reason for why mobile plays an important part in the Thanksgiving holiday is because people want to get a good deal and can’t wait until the brick-and-mortar retail stores actually open. Of course, if you’re in a physical store amidst the madness that is Black Friday, it could be difficult to find the thing you’re looking for. You may also want to see if it’s cheaper elsewhere, say Amazon, eBay, or at another competitor. Instead of fighting with your fellow human over the latest toy, you could opt to take out that smartphone and simply place the order right there and move on with your day.

PayPal didn’t disclose the exact total payment volume this year, only sharing vague percentages.

However, the notion of individual shopping “holidays” is no longer a thing as the buying season basically commences when you sit down for that turkey-centric meal with your family. The company makes a big deal hyping up that mobile usage on Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday, but this isn’t exactly a surprise as the latter “holiday” involves people usually in front of a keyboard and computer while the latter has a more on-the-go shopping experience.

How will Cyber Monday fare remains to be seen — it was the company’s biggest online shopping day in history last year. PayPal is expected to release statistics about its performance later this week.


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