With fewer enticing offers on phones, Black Friday weekend was hardly a boon for the Big Four telecommunications companies.
According to Millward Brown Digital, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, all saw increases in online traffic and site orders on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday over their daily November average. But in comparison with past years, the traffic was down. (For the record, Verizon had more online traffic on Black Friday, but T-Mobile — thanks to a unique iPhone offer — won Cyber Monday.)
“In this industry, traffic was down compared to last year,” Rachel Eisenberg, vice president of strategy and marketing at Millward Brown Digital, tells Marketing Daily. “It has to do with how good the offers the carriers were willing to put out.”
This year saw fewer enticing offers on handsets compared to previous years. T-Mobile was able to increase traffic on site on Cyber Monday with a one-day deal to get a 64 GB for an iPhone 6 for the price of a 16GB model. While other carriers had small offers on Android phones, “none of those held a candle to getting an iPhone cheaper,” Eisenberg says.
While the devices play a role in Black Friday and Cyber Monday interest, two of the Big Four carriers — T-Mobile and Sprint — have rolled out new rate plans designed to entice new customers into switching carriers entirely during the holiday season. On Dec. 5, Sprint launched a “cut your bill in half” initiative, in which AT&T and Verizon customers could have their current bills halved by switching to Sprint, while T-Mobile earlier this week announced it would begin offering data rollover on its plans.
Both initiatives came after the Black Friday weekend, and weren’t measured by Millward Brown Digital’s study (which also didn’t account for mobile and tablet traffic). But timing the offers after Black Friday rather than before or during — when there’s a lot of noise — may have been intentional, Eisenberg says.
“Since services tend to be more complicated, they don’t put them out during the Black Friday weekend,” she says.