As we return to our regular routines after the holiday season, let’s take stock of the most important shopping period of the year, and use that information to plan for the year ahead.

After analyzing the activity of more than 500 million global shoppers, here are our top findings from the 2018 holiday shopping season:


For the first holiday season ever, consumers placed more orders with mobile devices than computers

Over the 2018 holidays, mobile emerged for the first time as the #1 device for both traffic and orders on ecommerce sites, marking a monumental shift in mobile’s ability to capture online shopping activity.

Mobile proved to be the device shoppers preferred most for browsing and buying; it accounted for 68% of traffic and 48% of orders, compared to 44% of orders on computers. And online shopping was more concentrated this year, as 37% of all shopping was completed during the seven-day period of Cyber Week. Shoppers were ready to buy early, and retailers were ready to meet them across a variety of channels including social, mobile, and email.


Social media was the breakout star in driving traffic

Social media traffic to ecommerce sites didn’t grow significantly in 2018, according to our Shopping Index. But this holiday season, social channels drove 34% more traffic than in 2017, with Facebook and Instagram accounting for the vast majority (94%) of those visits. Whether you chalk it up to the inherently mobile-first nature of social or the growing power of social media influencers, social may be finally earning its hype as a crucial component of ecommerce.


Thanksgiving emerged as one of the most important shopping days

Fifty percent of all holiday shopping this year was complete by Monday, December 3 —  just two weeks into the season. That’s indicative of a broader trend toward earlier shopping, as Thanksgiving Day was the season’s third-biggest digital day for revenue. Retailers and brands teased a steady drumbeat of discounts on Thanksgiving Day, as shoppers know they don’t have to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to score bargains.


SMS grew by an astounding 159%

In 2018, marketers aimed to reach customers early in the season in the ways they interact most: their phones and email inboxes. SMS and email notification sends peaked early, growing 159% and 26% year-over-year respectively on Thanksgiving Day. Cyber Monday saw marketers make most outreach to customers, with 4 billion emails sent on that day alone.

These are just a few snippets of the unparalleled data and insights we’ve gathered this holiday shopping season. How do you stack up? Download the Holiday Shopping Report today to find out.