Frontline Marketing

Black Friday Shopper Habits Changing; CMOs Don’t Get Their Consumers

By | November 10, 2017 |

As consumers prepare for Black Friday, their shopping habits are changing as well. Projections by the National Retail Foundation report that 59 percent of consumers plan to shop online during the holiday season, which for the first time in the survey’s history is higher than any other destination. Department stores came in second place with 57 percent, and in third were discount stores with 54 percent of customers planning to shop there.

A survey by Koski Research indicates that one third of US shoppers plan to make purchases from a foreign retailer during the holiday season, with 66 percent of that group seeking to buy something uniquely un-American.

Additionally, 71 percent of US Cyber Monday shoppers will search for deals on the day before, dubbed “Sofa Sunday.” Of those shoppers, 45 percent will spend two or more hours looking for the best deals, and will do so primarily on desktop and laptop computers (52 percent) as opposed to on mobile (36 percent).

“With so much attention focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many retailers may overlook Sofa Sunday,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer at Valassis. “Brands and retailers that develop their holiday media strategies with the full consumer decision journey in mind are more likely to reach shoppers with relevant, timely messages and will ultimately secure a bigger piece of the retail pie during this critical shopping season.”


The vast majority of marketing executives are out touch, according to new research. Only one out of four every marketers surveyed claimed to understand their consumers well. Adobe’s information suggests that quickly changing consumer behavior is the largest factor driving CMO confusion.


Call of Duty: WWII has netted Activision more than half a billion dollars in its first three days, the company reports. This marks a turnaround for the franchise—the game is the first in several years to outsell the one before it.

“We challenged our players to get their squads back together and they answered the call, with the highest number of players we’ve ever seen on current-gen consoles and PC,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision. “Call of Duty: WWII returns the franchise to its roots and the results are incredible, selling twice as many units in its opening weekend as last year, and setting the day one record for full-game downloads on PlayStation 4.”


A new study has forecasted products such as Google Home and Amazon Echo becoming even more ubiquitous in the coming years. Juniper Research predicts that 55 percent of US households will install a smart speaker by 2022, totaling 175 million devices across the nation.

Furthermore, Juniper asserts that ad spending on zero-UI devices will reach $19 billion in 2022, though it warns that the platform is not for everybody.

“Voice-based interaction presents fewer options than other forms of advertising, meaning fewer adverts are possible,” said research author James Moar. “Not all voice interactions are product searches, meaning advertisers will need to adjust their strategies to build a brand’s voice strategy around information provision as well as sales.”


Fifty percent of Americans don’t pay full attention to TV programming, choosing instead to use a second screen. According to a report by eMarketer, 177.7 million adults in the US will digitally multitask while watching TV at least once per month, up 5 percent from 2016. EMarketer also predicts that by 2019, this figure will be as high as 193.5 million.

Unsurprisingly, mobile causes the majority of split attention, with smartphones distracting 91.5 percent of digital multitaskers. By comparison, only 62 percent of simultaneous users use either desktops or laptops.

AdColony’s 2017 mobile usage survey points to similar trends. Despite the portability offered by mobile phones, a significant majority of mobile usage occurs at home in the evening. Sixty-nine percent of ad requests come over wifi, and phone use peaks at 9 p.m., normalized for time zones.

Even with hype cycles and early adoption culture, many users opt to stick with phones as old as four years, AdColony’s data found. More ad requests originated from the iPhone 6s units, and the iPhone 7 lagged behind not just all models of the iPhone 6 but even the iPhone 5s. Android phones saw a smaller effect, with the Galaxy S7 being the most popular, followed by the S5 and then the S6.


Luxury fashion brands face major issues when it comes to digital presence, a study by L2 Inc. reveals.

“Luxury fashion continues to lag in digital sophistication behind other sectors,” said Brian Lee, L2 Inc.’s associate director. “As a result, luxury fashion brands have become susceptible to growing threats from disruptor brands.”

Of the 90 companies L2 studied, 38 percent did not own more than half of the search terms related to their brands. As high as 40 percent of paid search traffic went to resale sites, hurting direct customer sales.

Not all of L2’s findings were negative, however. Fashion brands saw significant growth in their Instagram followers, increasing by an average of 53 percent this year.


Adobe has released its predictions for the 2017 holiday season, forecasting groundbreaking revenue and budget-conscious shoppers. The company’s research suggests that online spending during the holiday season will break $100 billion, jumping 14 percent year over year. Their report, however, noted that this double-digit growth has been slowing by degrees since 2015.

Adobe’s study also found that for the first time, more consumers will visit retailer websites on mobile than on desktop, with a 54 percent–46 percent split.

Additionally, average-size retailers are likely to feel squeezed out in the coming months, Adobe’s research indicates. Both large and small companies achieve higher average conversion rates (3.2 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively) than mid-sized companies (2.4 percent). Additionally, small retailers, with a mobile conversion rate of 1.9 percent, are better at closing sales on phones than medium or even large companies.


Content marketing is set to explode in the next five years, a report by Technavio predicts. The global content marketing industry, worth $195 billion in 2016, will grow by 211 percent by 2021 to a total value of $412 billion.

“The effectiveness of traditional marketing is decreasing by the day,” said Ujjwal Doshi, lead analyst at Technavio. “Companies must adopt the latest marketing trends to enhance their business and increase their consumer base.”


Optimism about IoT is low, according to a massive survey undertaken by Mozilla. When asked what about the “connected future” they were most looking forward to, 27 percent, the largest group, answered “none of the above.” 

Privacy and mistrust of businesses remain the largest sources of fear for the future, with 45 percent of the survey’s 190,000 respondents reporting being afraid of losing their privacy. Among those who self-identified as “very tech savvy,” that number was even higher, at 54 percent.

Furthermore, respondents lack trust in private organizations to help them keep their privacy secure. Only 3 percent claimed to trust the media to help keep them safe online, and only 2 percent said the same about governments. A full 27 percent of the survey-takers said they didn’t know who, if anyone, to trust.

Lastly, the survey found that tech terminology is advancing faster than many can keep up. Only 26 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable explaining “IoT” to a friend. The only terms a majority of users could explain were “connected devices” and “VPN.”


A new survey by the Pew Research Center has revealed that more Americans are using social networks to keep up with the latest headlines. Twitter acts as a news source for 74 percent of those surveyed, up from 52 percent four years ago. Almost every platform saw an increase in news usage except for Reddit, whose figure dropped by 2 percent since 2016.


Google has released new research on AutoML, a machine-learning process that can creates neural networks without human design. Using AutoML, researchers built an image-parsing algorithm that was able to recognize objects in static images with 83 percent accuracy, a rate superior to most other human-made models.

This new tool bodes well for marketers, as superior image-recognition can lead to better tracking of users’ offline behavior and easily scalable information on behavior and purchases.


Pandora has become the top-grossing non-game app in the US in Q3 of 2017, claiming a spot that had been comfortably held by Netflix for several quarters before. This is likely due to the broad release of the app’s Premium service, competing with other paid-for offerings by Apple and Spotify. Worldwide, however, Netflix remains king, with Pandora in the number three spot.


(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, November 10.)