With more and more retailers offering holiday deals earlier in the season, the excitement about Black Friday is no longer confined to a single day. Now it’s more like a month-long event. As a result, one in five shoppers plan to head to stores on Thanksgiving Day to capitalize on Black Friday deals.1

To get a read on the trends heading into Black Friday, we took the temperature of holiday shopping online. We looked at search trends on Google, insights from Google Consumer Surveys and top trending purchases on our same-day delivery service, Google Express.

Mobile shoppers are out in force
As smartphone shoppers hunt for deals during snackable moments throughout their day, this holiday season will likely be the most mobile ever. Shopping searches on Google coming from smartphones have increased 3.5x year over year and continue to grow.2 And we’re currently sending more mobile traffic to retailers per week from Google Shopping than we did during the peak of last holiday season.3

The smartphone has become the most powerful shopping assistant while consumers are out and about, helping us read customer reviews, watch product demos and find other retailers with product in stock nearby. So it’s no surprise that the top spending days in 2013 for in-store sales are also the days we saw the biggest spikes in shopping searches on mobile devices.4

This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphone while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25–34- year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store.5 To help these shoppers research products more easily this holiday weekend, we rolled out new mobile features to Google Shopping such as 360-degree imagery and more detailed product information.

Top trending gifts of the season

To get a sense of the hottest gifts likely to sell out this season, we used Google Trends to identify the top trending toys, devices and apparel searches on Google Shopping.
  • Game consoles and tablets continue to be the top gifts trending on Google Shopping, but wearable technology such as the “fitbit” is also on the rise this month. 
  • Certain retro toys are making a comeback this season. Thanks to the new movie “Ouija,” searches for “Ouija boards” are up 300% since October. And queries for “Barbie Dream House” and “My Little Pony” are up as well compared to last month. 6
  • Cold-weather staples, such as “Hunter boots” and “Canada Goose jackets,” are among the most popular apparel searches, up 46% and 140%, respectively, since October. But “jogger pants” are the newcomer gift this season, up 39% from October. 7

Hunting for deals online

Shoppers are already prepping for Black Friday shopping by researching purchases and deals online. We found that 27% of shoppers have already begun hunting for Black Friday deals online.8

The top questions people are asking about Black Friday on Google Search are:
  • What time do stores open on Black Friday
  • What time does Black Friday start
  • When does Black Friday end
  • What to buy on Black Friday
Source: Google data, November 2014.

Beating the holiday rush with same-day delivery
We wanted to take the pulse of the people making purchases this weekend as they prepare for the Thanksgiving festivities. Here’s an overview of the top trending purchases on Google Express across locations.9

San Francisco: No gingerbread cookies here. San Franciscans are seeking a nutritious holiday with lots of bananas, avocado, coconut water and quinoa. And talk about eating clean: Disinfecting wipes are also among top shoppers’ searches.
  • West LA: The City of Angels is ready to party. Disposable silverware, plastic cups, paper plates, tortilla chips and garbage bags are all they need for hassle-free entertaining. 
  • Manhattan: New Yorkers start off the day right with cereal, almond milk and—why not?—butter croissants. After a long day, residents relax with snacks such as mini pretzels and almonds. 
  • Boston: Bring your appetite to Boston parties. Salty treats such as maple bacon chips, green pea crisps and peanuts top shopping lists. The city also buys more ketchup and popcorn than any other city. 
  • Chicago: Baby boom. Chicago households are stocking up for tots this winter with lots of baby wipes and goodies such as chocolate and sparkling juice. To ward off sniffles, Chicago is loading up on vitamin C and orange juice!
  • Washington, D.C.: The capital is stocking up on healthy bites such as whole wheat crackers, fruit snacks and diet soda to wash it down. 
To learn more about digital trends and how they’re affecting holiday shopping, visit ThinkwithGoogle.

Posted by Jenny Fernandez, Analytical Insights Marketing, Google

1 Google Consumer Survey, November 2014, n=1100.
2 Google Data, November 2014.
3 Global Google Shopping Data, Week of 12/2-12/8 ‘13 compared to 11/1-11/7 ‘14.
4 MasterCard, SpendingPulse report, 2013 and Google Search data, November–December 2013.
5 Google Consumer Survey, November 2014, n=1100.
6 Google Trends, November 2014.
7 Google Trends, November 2014.
8 Google Consumer Survey, November 2014, n=1100.
9 Google Express data, last 90 days (only delivered orders counted).

(cross-posted on the Google Analytics Blog)

"Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics made it extremely easy to analyze the metrics that are important to an ecommerce site and garner the insights to make smart changes to our website, driving significant improvements in performance!"
-- Danny Gavin, VP and Director of Marketing at Brian Gavin Diamonds

Our Enhanced Ecommerce features in Google Analytics are officially out of beta today, complete with brand new tools like Product Attribution. Combined with our new Shopping Campaigns report, Google Analytics provides our retail clients with an integrated view of their customers. As part of today’s announcements, we’re also excited to highlight partnerships with Shopify, PrestaShop, Blue Acorn for Magento, and mShopper. Using Enhanced Ecommerce in conjunction with our partners’ products simplifies the implementation process and gives you a full set of tools to create and optimize your ecommerce site. Please see the end of this post for more information about our partners’ solutions.

Understand customer behavior
Enhanced Ecommerce provides insight into the customer’s path to purchase, like when customers added items to cart, started the checkout process, and completed a purchase. Importantly, Enhanced Ecommerce gives you the ability to identify segments of customers who are falling out of the shopping funnel. You can then focus on these high intent-to-purchase customers with remarketing or by optimizing your checkout flow. Brian Gavin Diamonds, a Texas-based jewelry design house that is renowned for its signature hearts and arrows diamonds and custom jewelry design, used Enhanced Ecommerce to discover that in a single month they had missed out on more than half a million dollars in sales due to cart abandonment at the customer login page.  The company worked quickly to optimize their checkout flow with guest checkout functionality and immediately realized a 60% increase in customers completing the checkout process to payment.  You can read more about Brian Gavin Diamonds’ success with Enhanced Ecommerce in our case study.

Optimize online merchandising to increase sales 
Once you’ve gotten users to your site, Enhanced Ecommerce allows you to optimize the onsite experience to drive sales. By using Product Lists, you can identify how customers are discovering and interacting with products before purchasing them. Armed with this information, you can analyze your onsite promotions in order to build a more effective merchandising strategy, or use the product attribution functionality to understand which product lists drive conversions.

In an increasingly mobile world, this information is critically important since screen real estate is limited and must be used wisely. For retailers with mobile apps, the Google Analytics SDK fully supports Enhanced Ecommerce, so you can do rich analysis of product performance and customer behavior across all sales channels.  Across both desktop and mobile, Enhanced Ecommerce delivers the information you need to increase sales on your site.

Drive revenue with Shopping Campaign reports
Today, we’re also introducing a new Shopping Campaigns report as part of the AdWords reporting section in Google Analytics.  This feature will be rolled out over the next few weeks and will allow you to analyze the performance of your shopping campaigns.  With this functionality, you’ll have the ability to understand the product categories/types that are driving site engagement and revenue and use this information to optimize your bids.  So, how can you get started?  If you have already linked your Adwords and your Google Analytics accounts, this report will automatically appear in the Adwords reporting section of your Analytics account.  Not linked yet?  Simply follow these instructions to link the two accounts.

Get Enhanced Ecommerce with our partner integrations
Shopify, PrestaShop, Blue Acorn for Magento, and mShopper have partnered with us to integrate Enhanced Ecommerce as part of their ecommerce solutions. If you’re using one of these platforms, you can take advantage of Enhanced Ecommerce by enabling one of these pre-built integrations.  Shopify’s solution is available today while solutions for Prestashop, Blue Acorn, and mShopper will be available in the coming week. To learn more about our featured partners, please visit our partner page

Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce is built to help you understand your customers and optimize your sales conversions. Combined with Shopping Campaign reports, Google Analytics is a complete solution for ecommerce businesses.  For more information about how to implement this feature in your Google Analytics account, please see the documentation available in our help center.

More about our partners

Shopify is a commerce platform that allows anyone to easily sell online, at their retail location, and everywhere in between. Shopify offers a professional online storefront, a payment solution to accept credit cards, a point of sale system to power retail sales and a card reader to process credit card transactions through a mobile phone. Shopify currently powers over 120,000 retailers in 150 different countries, including: Tesla Motors, Gatorade, Google, Wikipedia, LA Lakers, CrossFit, and many more. 

PrestaShop is a world industry leader in Open Source solutions for ecommerce, whose mission is to challenge ecommerce limits by developing a powerful solution that is accessible to anyone, anywhere. Through the Open Source software, PrestaShop allows everyone to create online stores quickly, easily and for free. The company currently counts more than 200,000 online stores worldwide, 700,000 community members and over 4 million software downloads.

Blue Acorn is a premium eCommerce agency dedicated to helping retailers and brands achieve revenue growth through a comprehensive, data-driven approach. In order to best support this approach, they became the first Magento Solution Partner in the world to also hold certified partnerships with Google and Optimizely. By integrating data and testing throughout their services, they are able to help their clients make the best decisions possible and further support their best-in-class design, development, and optimization capabilities.

mShopper is a leading mobile commerce platform that allows retailers to create custom, mobile-optimized e-commerce sites designed specifically to increase sales on mobile devices. The integration with Enhanced Ecommerce will provide a dramatic impact on mobile commerce conversions for retailers by delivering superior insight on product sales and overall campaign performance. mShopper recently launched mStore® v4.1 with marketing tools and a performance dashboard to drive conversions and improve sales for customers using mobile devices as well.

Posted by Marcia Jung, Product Manager, on behalf of the Google Analytics team

Conventional wisdom suggests that the rise of digital is making local retailers obsolete. But the reality is much different—technology actually presents new opportunities to help savvy retailers connect with consumers, drive them to the store and increase sales.

To better understand the impact of smartphones and online information on in-store shopping, Google partnered with Ipsos Media CT and Sterling Brands to conduct an online survey. With this new research, we were able to uncover the real relationship between digital and local retail, as well as debunk three common retail myths.

Myth: Search results only send consumers to e-commerce sites.
The Reality: Search results are a powerful way to drive consumers to stores.

Many retailers believe that when shoppers look for products online, they limit their research strictly to e-commerce websites. In reality, three out of four shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores. When information about store location, hours and product availability is clearly communicated in a local search ad, shoppers are actually inspired to make the in-store purchase.

Head to Think With Google to learn more retail myths and uncover the realities about technology’s impact on local shopping.