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Almost two-thirds of US retail traffic was mobile this Christmas thanks to PWAs, says Adobe

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As the analysis continues around Christmas shopping habits, the latest recap from Adobe finds that 61% of retail traffic and 42% of revenues came from mobile.

According to Adobe’s findings, ecommerce is carrying the torch for retail growth overall in the US. Adobe Analytics reported that $126 billion was spent online this holiday season (Nov 1 – Dec 31), an increase of 16.5% YoY. 

Smartphones drove half the traffic (51%) for the first time ever, accounting for nearly a third (31%) of revenue, 34% growth YoY. Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) saw 50% YoY growth.

With the US often a bell-weather for wider trends in the UK, the findings emphasise the importance for brands to master multi-channel, and mobile experiences.

In light of this, Adobe has launched a new Progressive Web Application offering to help retailers improve the customer experience on mobile. These allow retailers to offer slick, speedy app experiences that work in a mobile browser, and share targeted push notifications, without consumers having to download the app.

Among the benefits, says Adobe, is Faster Browsing, with PWAs being much faster to interact with, as well as providing smoother scrolling and transitioning of pages as the experience “progressively” changes thus removing the need for pages to “re-load”.

Early adopters such as AliExpress have seen 100% jump in conversion rates since making the switch and Google even provide a testing tool (Lighthouse) so you can benchmark your PWA’s performance.

PWAs also offe instant “App” Gratification, being instantly discoverable and usable via the browser, thus eliminating the need to “download” or “install” an app before use. They also allows for push notifications from marketers targetted at the user at the point of use and bring about rapid re-engagement.

Tales from the US

The US Adobe study also shows just how strong US online and mobile sales were, with daily sales averaging $2.1 billion during the holiday season. This represented a 16.5% YoY increase from 2017. The full 2018 holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31) saw 26 $2 billion days, up from 15 in 2017. Nearly every day of holiday season exceeded $1 billion. 


The West Coast topped in average order value (AOV). Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area had the highest AOV during the holiday season, coming in at $156 and $154, respectively. Among the top 50 US markets, the lowest was Grand Rapids at $134. Overall, basket sizes were driven by more items as opposed to more expensive items. 

The period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday generated $1 in $5 overall holiday spending online, accounting for 19.2% of total revenue. In total, the five-day weekend drove $24.2 billion in sales, a 23% increase over last year. Thanksgiving ($3.7B, +27.9%), Black Friday ($6.2B, +23.6%) and Cyber Monday ($7.9B, +19.3%) all broke sales records during the stretch.

Top Products for the season include the Nintendo Switch, LOL Surprise and Fingerlings dolls, Red Dead Redemption 2, streaming devices (such as Roku and Amazon Fire Sticks) and laptops (Dell and Apple being the top sellers there).

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