This season, your holiday shopping habits are evolving fast, according to new data from Adobe Digital Insights, which tracks our collective 17.6 billion visits to retail websites. Don't be distracted by parking lot shootings and gory clips of cart crusaders--the truth is, today's holiday shopper is more in charge than ever.

You shop from bed.

Online sales are spiking mid to late evening. Chances are, if you have the bandwidth at home to snuggle up with your laptop or mobile phone for a shopping session, you're experience the new great American shopping preference. Only 14% of us, according to a Statistica survey this month, actually plan to visit a store to shop and buy.

You know what you want.

38% of online shoppers came from a product search and 25% came from a direct URL, meaning you typed the name of the retailer you want. In other words, most online shoppers have a mission in mind and know the store if not the precise product. You're ignoring noise, too. Social media, which was fully hyped with Black Friday deals, including entire social feeds devoted to 'hot deals,' barely registers with you. Social media links delivered less than 1% of Black Friday's $3 billion in sales.

Your thumbs bring in billions.

You were certainly working your phone, though. Black Friday sales from mobile devices--mostly smart phones--crossed the billion dollar mark for the first time this year, landing on $1.2 billion in just one day. Overall, mobile sales jumped 11%--another in a long series of double digit growth year. Mobile computers counted for 55% of site visits on Black Friday and a full 36% of sales. (Of course, many of us don't have the bandwidth to shop like that--yet.)

You're not just snagging stuff.

You're buying your whole 2017 experience on sale. The "end of year" shopping season extends far beyond retail into other experiences you're looking for. Fitness deals are hitting a new high intensity. Many restaurants offer 20%-25% off gift cards for 2017. Yacht booking, resorts, and destinations are all in on the discounting, too--check out this recent list from Budget Travel's blog.

Retailers aren't keeping up.

Think of all the dollars devoted to advertising, promotions, display banners, commercials social and email--and yet the out of stock rate on things you want? Over 10%. That's right--surprisingly, retailers were only 90% capable of serving orders on Black Friday.

Email marketing, most of it automated, accounted for about 17% of sales--most of that email to existing customers triggering them with sharp discounts.

You're learning to use artificial intelligence to slice through the noise--and so are the stores.

Case in point--just before this holiday shopping season, UPS debuted its new artificial intelligence chatbot to help you track orders. It's a smart bet on creating a smoother customer service experience in their busiest time of the year. Chatbots are in the early stages of becoming more fully fledged shopping assistants and agents. Stores are also using artificial intelligence. Consider Mia, the new bot from CRM marketing software firm Signpost. "She" is a toolset for marketers that helps them achieve outcomes--like getting you to post reviews, rewarding you for loyalty, and helping you discover new stuff you might want to buy.

Nothing reveals new patterns in shopping habits like the holidays, when retailers book some 40% of their revenues and etailers some 23%. If this Black Friday was any indication, data says we're shopping smarter, longer, with strong intentions, and from home. What shopping trends are you noticing in your behavior this season?

Published on: Nov 28, 2016
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