Black Friday on YouTube [infographic]

Historically, Black Friday was a one-day shopping extravaganza, full of door-busting deals, extended shopping hours, and the occasional tug-of-war over the last remaining (suspiciously understocked) toy.

In recent years, consumers have reshaped this free-for-all into a week-long event, avoiding long lines the day after Thanksgiving in favor of shopping on their own time, from the comfort of their homes. This evolution has changed the way retailers reach their customers and also transformed consumers’ buying process—inserting YouTube and mobile devices squarely into the process.

Shopping research on YouTube

In a recent study, 64% of people cited YouTube as the single most influential channel for shopping research, with 89% of holiday shoppers stating that they expect to research products online before deciding to buy. With increasing regularity, shoppers are conducting this research on YouTube.

“Haul” videos—the online equivalent of showing off a spending spree—have been viewed 1.1 billion times on YouTube in 2014. That’s up 70% from the year before, with 40,000 videos created specifically for Black Friday. This online research translates into real life: of people who research products online, 40% end up visiting a store. Savvy retailers have taken notice: Toys “R” Us is testing a series of shoppable flash sale YouTube videos, generating 100,000 views per day.

Smartphone traffic

Beyond YouTube, shoppers are participating in Black Friday through their smartphones. In the fourth quarter of 2013, mobile accounted for 35% of online traffic—a 40% increase over 2012. And a staggering 93% of shoppers who conduct research on mobile devices end up making a purchase. Combine this with the fact that 76% of smartphones are used for shopping research, and you begin to see how Black Friday has evolved into not only Cyber Monday but Cyber Weekend.

Take note, retailers! It’s no longer enough to air TV spots and stuff coupons into mailboxes. YouTube and mobile devices must make it onto your Black Friday holiday marketing list.