Last week, we took a look at how major U.S. retailer apps are faring this shopping season versus last on Apple's App Store (spoiler: it's not all good news). Now with Black Friday 2015 in the record books, we've used our Store Intelligence platform to see if the news was better for iOS shopping apps in general on the biggest retail day of the year in the United States.
We found that reports of a surge in mobile shopping this year are backed up by impressive growth for these apps in more ways than one. Read on to see how this Black Friday week compared to last year's.
In order to create this report, we pulled daily U.S. download estimates from our Store Intelligence platform for every ranking app in the Shopping category—all 4,545 of them—for Sunday, November 22 through Saturday, November 29, 2015 (the week of Black Friday this year).
We then pulled daily U.S. download estimates for the same 4,545 apps for the period of Sunday, November 23 through Saturday, November 29, 2014 (Black Friday week last year), when they were mostly categorized under Lifestyle.
In addition, we used the U.S. download estimates for Black Friday of each year to determine the top 10 shopping app downloads on each of these days. For this, we only looked at apps available during both periods and released before November 22 this year.
According to IBM research in the story linked up top, Black Friday 2015 purchases made using mobile devices were up 21.5 percent this year versus last, factoring in sales via apps and mobile web. What we found when looking at shopping app downloads echoes that impressive statistic, reinforcing the idea that mobile devices are becoming a preferred tool of shoppers.
Specifically, as you can see visualized in the chart below, downloads of the more than 4,500 shopping apps we looked at were up 26 percent on Black Friday, year-over-year, from approximately 835,000 to approximately 1.05 million total.
What's also evident in the chart above is the increase in downloads the day before Black Friday—aka Thanksgiving—year-over-year, to the tune of 27 percent. The increase in downloads from Wednesday to Thursday was also more significant this year versus last. They jumped 39 percent this year, compared to 17 percent in 2014, as mobile shoppers geared up to wage war on high prices the following day. The percentage growth in downloads between Thanksgiving and Black Friday was the same for both years, however, at 5 percent.
In order to look at this year's surge in shopping app downloads from another point of view, we created the following chart which shows the days of each week in 2015 and 2014 indexed against Sunday of that week.
As you can see, both weeks started out similarly, but this year there were nearly 1.4 times more shopping apps downloaded on Black Friday compared to the preceding Sunday, while last year that figure stood at approximately 1.18 times. There was a roughly 1.3 times increase in downloads on Thanksgiving this year, versus an approximately 1.11 times increase the same day in 2014, indexed against the preceding Sunday.
This view is particularly useful because it compensates for any year-over-year increase in new iOS users to a degree. What neither chart can show, however, are the motivators behind this increased adoption of shopping apps, whether that's better discovery thanks to the relatively new Shopping category, an improving economy, a gradual supplanting of desktop computers for online shopping, or a combination of these and other factors. No matter the cause, it's clear that shopping apps were more popular this year than last.
Finally, after comparing the category as a whole between this year and last, we wanted to look at which shopping apps ranked in the top 10 for Black Friday 2015 versus 2014. As we mentioned earlier, this specifically took into account apps available both years and released prior to November 22 this year. Here's what we found:
Click the chart above to view a larger version.
Likely to no one's surprise, Amazon took the top spot both years, with year-over-year Black Friday downloads growing 242 percent. It was joined in the top five by two apps that made big leaps up the chart since 2014: Wish and eBay. The former grew its downloads by 196 percent over the same day last year, while the later saw year-over-year growth of 41 percent.
Several apps did slip year-over-year, most notably BlackFriday.fm's Black Friday Ads App. It managed to capture enough downloads last year to rank No. 5 overall, but this year came in at No. 10, with a 44 percent decrease in downloads over Black Friday 2014.
Department stores Macy's and Kohl's saw downloads of their apps on Black Friday shrink year-over-year, which parallels what we found in our report on major retailer apps leading up to Black Friday; downloads of both apps were down more than 40 percent over the first three weeks of November compared to the same period last year. Still, their downloads this year were enough to land in the top 10—albeit ranked lower than last year.
No apps that debuted this year made it into the Black Friday Top 10 for 2015—Sazze's was renamed from 2014—but with newer players like Jet receiving huge rounds of funding, and many top 100 U.S. retailers still to make App Store debuts, it should definitely be interesting to see how this chart looks in a year's time.
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