Advice, Trend Stats To Maximize Ecommerce App Holiday Sales

While planning and executing holiday marketing strategies generally takes more than six months, mobile marketers need to stay agile to adjust promotion strategies and adapt to trends and unforeseen events week-by-week — sometimes even minute-by-minute, stresses Natalie Portier, regional vice president Americas for mobile marketing analytics company Adjust. 

For instance, while many shoppers plan to buy their holiday gifts earlier this year, last-minute shoppers and many looking for the best deals on certain items will still wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

To help mobile marketers better understand holiday season user behavior and be prepared no matter what shifts may take place, Adjust analyzed ecommerce app installs, sessions and session lengths in November over the last two years. 

Here’s a look at some of that analysis, followed by Adjust’s top tips for driving mobile app installs and engagement during the holidays. 

Quantifying November’s Outsized Importance 

Global installs and sessions of shopping apps in November 2021 were an impressive 24% higher than the average for 2021 as a whole (chart above). Installs and sessions of deal discovery apps in November were 21% and 15% higher, respectively, compared to the 2021 averages, indicating shoppers' continued interest in the best deals and discounts. 

Salesforce has projected that fully 29% of holiday sales will occur in the first three weeks of November this year. Adjust’s previous years’ data supports this trend, showing that global installs of ecommerce apps peaked in the first two weeks of November 2021, and the average install rate in those two weeks was 18% higher than the average for full-year 2021. Installs dropped slightly during the third week, then soared on Black Friday, when they were 31% higher than the 2021 average.   


Ecommerce app sessions during the month were more varied, showing huge growth during the second week of November and then the five days leading up to Black Friday, which saw the highest growth. While sessions in the second week of November were 15% higher than the overall yearly average, sessions on Black Friday were 23% higher.  

Adjust data shows that Black Friday is consumers' favorite shopping event in most regions. In North America, ecommerce app sessions grew 10% on Black Friday and 9% on Cyber Monday, compared to the overall 2021 averages. In EMEA, Black Friday were 32% higher and Cyber Monday sessions were 24% higher than compared to the yearly averages. LATAM proved the lone exception, with ecommerce sessions’ growth for Black Friday and Cyber Monday falling below the overall yearly averages. 

The average global session length on ecommerce apps last November was 11.42 minutes, surpassing the overall yearly average of 10.57 minutes. Black Friday itself also had a higher level of user engagement than average (11.35 minutes on ecommerce apps). Experts suggest that Black Friday is a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items; therefore, shoppers tend to spend more time finding the best deals. Cyber Monday tends to generate smaller gifts, along with tech purchases, so it makes sense that session lengths were slightly shorter (11.21 minutes), though still well above the yearly average.   

Adjust data shows ecommerce app session times increasing each year, driven in part by the pandemic’s effects on behavior and improvements in access to smartphones and mobile connectivity. Users also appear to be investing more time in finding high-value items at the right price.

Session lengths globally have increased from 10.02 minutes in 2019 to 10.73 in 2020 and 11.42 in 2021. 

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days in the world, especially in the U.S. and across Europe, it’s Singles Day that has been on the rise in APAC. In 2021, installs surged by 122% on Singles Day, coupled with a sessions increase of 18%.

Standing Out from the Competition

Adjust's holiday advice for mobile marketers for driving installs and engagement includes: 

Prioritize user acquisition: The holiday shopping season is an excellent time to use data-driven tactics to identify, engage and acquire new customers. Implement retention strategies to encourage them to return during and after the holiday shopping season. Reward loyal customers with early access to Black Friday deals. 

Leverage flash sales: Flash sales make it easy to engage holiday shoppers without much planning. All you need is to know your goal, your target audience, what products you will sell, and how you will let customers know about the sale. Getting the word out is best done by engaging existing customers or influencers. A countdown timer can encourage shoppers to act quickly.  

Use analytics to understand user behavior: App analytics help mobile marketers better understand what shoppers need and expect during the holidays and beyond and get a holistic view of their behavior. Understanding users' preferences and behavior allows for tailoring offers and experiences for them, ultimately leading to enhanced sales and loyalty. 

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