Whether you call it Grayish Friday or Black November, it’s increasingly clear that the days of lining up for sales on Black Friday are gone. With major retailers like Walmart and Amazon starting their deals a full week early on November 21st, the traditional appeal of Black Friday has lost its mojo. More and more retail stores are starting their deals earlier, hoping to grab consumers’ attention – and it’s working.
Localytics examined the weekly new device growth during the weekend before Black Friday and Black Friday weekend (including Cyber Monday). By isolating only new devices, Localytics is able to observe which devices saw the most new activity each weekend. We were able to see the effect that these early deals have on thrifty shoppers by comparing new device growth to a baseline average from the previous 3 weekends.
The weekend before Black Friday saw certain devices increase by over 200% compared to the baseline. The biggest winners for the weekend were older iPhone models – specifically the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s and iPhone 4.
This massive new device growth is likely due to early Black Friday deals. Before the Black Friday deals, few people had a reason to buy an older iPhone model. However, with companies such as Best Buy offering $150 off iPhone 5’s and Verizon offering a free iPhone 5c with a contract, consumers responded in kind.
Interestingly, Apple’s two new iPads, the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2, saw more new devices on Black Friday weekend, by 40% and 20% respectively. These two iPads were heavily discounted by Best Buy, whose deals did not start until Black Friday weekend - likely the cause of the significant difference. These devices did not have the same stellar prior weekend that the older iPhone models did, but instead were the only two Apple devices to stay true to the traditional Black Friday weekend.
The holiday season is no longer a busy time for just retailers and shoppers. As consumers respond to device deals and swap old devices out for new ones, many users take the opportunity to remove apps they no longer use. Knowing this, app marketers should adjust their engagement strategies, using smart marketing tactics like personalized push to draw in users who haven’t been seen in the app recently.
There will also be new users who have never owned devices before. Given 20% of apps are only used once, engaging users early and often is critical. App publishers should target users of new devices with relevant offers and reminders to engage them early and often. New device activation is also a good time to solicit user feedback about the app experience via in-app surveys.
Black Friday weekend was the first step in a major mobile device shuffling, and the next part will come in a few weeks with the winter holidays. Many people will go through another period of app cleansing, removing apps that don’t have a strong connection to the user. App owners should anticipate this next round of device activation and the subsequent cleanse by building relationships with latent users now and reducing the chances of being part of the app cleanse later. Adopting new engagement strategies during the holiday season will go a long way to retaining users and making sure your app will remain a constant, even if the device it is on does not.
Localytics is the leading marketing and analytics platform for mobile and web apps across more than 1.5 billion devices and 28,000 apps. Localytics processes 50 billion data points monthly. For this analysis, Localytics examined the percentage increase of new devices on the weekend prior to Black Friday (Nov. 21st – Nov. 24th) and Black Friday Weekend (Nov. 28th – Dec. 1st) to a baseline of the prior 3 weekends in November (Oct 31st – Nov. 3rd, Nov. 7th – Nov 10th, and Nov. 14th – Nov 17th). With Localytics’ sample of over 28,000 apps, a new device is defined as a device that is seen by Localytics for the first time by downloading one of the apps incorporating our SDK.
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