2014 Holiday Shopping Insights
4 mins

Thanksgiving: the annual kick-off to the shopping frenzy heading into the holiday season. Over the past few years, the deep penetration of mobile phones has transformed holiday shopping from a culture of camping outside the big stores to one that includes using different mobile apps for finding deals, comparing prices, and getting up-to-the-minute alerts. This year, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, millions of users around the world used Android devices for their holiday shopping with Quettra’s personalization technology on it. In this study, we analyze mobile app usage to shed light on consumer behavior in the Shopping & Retail vertical. The goal of this study is two fold: (i) to understand market trends and patterns around the shopping season and (ii) to understand how mobile app usage correlates with offline (shopping) behaviors.

Our study indicates that in the United States alone, app usage on Black Friday was 26% higher than a regular shopping day and Cyber Monday was 15% higher than Black Friday. Noon was the busiest hour on Black Friday, and the 8pm hour was the busiest one on Cyber Monday. While Retail apps continued to dominate all other shopping categories from an active user perspective, Digital and Electronics apps saw the largest lift through this holiday shopping weekend.


On each of the 50M+ Android devices with Quettra inside, our software collects usage statistics for every application present on the device. And a note on privacy, which is very important to us: All data that we collected is anonymized, and no personally identifiable information is collected by any of our systems. From our understanding, this is the first time ubiquitous mobile application usage has been analyzed at such large scale. Quettra does not have a direct relationship with any of the apps or app developers mentioned in this study.

We examine data for two weeks ending on Cyber Monday and show trends that surface as we go through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The baseline for per-day studies corresponds to Monday 11/17, and the baseline for per-hour studies corresponds to the 12-1am hour unless explicitly stated.

Let’s dig deeper into some of our findings.

Shopping app usage on Cyber Monday outperformed Black Friday overall in U.S. and worldwide.

Shopping app usage on Cyber Monday

Shopping apps saw an overall lift of 26% in the US and 5% worldwide on Black Friday. Cyber Monday, on the other hand, saw a lift of 30% in the US and 10% across the world.

Deals & Coupons apps were more popular on Black Friday and Retailer apps were more popular on Cyber Monday.

Apps within the Deals and Coupons category, such as Groupon, RetailMeNot, Shopkick etc. saw a lift of 57% on Black Friday. Retailer apps such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc. saw a lift of 29% on Cyber Monday. The success of in-store coupon apps such as Shopular and Shopkick is closely tied to the brick and mortar stores that offered Black Friday sales. Coupon apps saw an incredible spike in morning hours, especially during the 9 am hour on Black Friday, and Retail apps saw a spike around noon.

Coupon and Retailer App Performance

Notifications played a huge role in the uptick of Coupon apps.

Coupon apps such as RetailMeNot and Groupon sent early morning notifications, while Shopular and Shopkick sent notifications later in the day. The spike in their app usage coincides with the notifications.

Shopkick Hourly Performance
Shopular Hourly Performance
Groupon Hourly Performance
RetailMeNot Hourly Performance

RetailMeNot’s Android App was the biggest shopping winner on Black Friday followed by Shopular

RetailMeNot Performance

RetailMeNot saw a huge lift of 215% on Black Friday and 116% on Cyber Monday across the world. Shopular, on the other hand, saw a lift of 116% on Black Friday and 76% on Cyber Monday. These two apps were the most popular apps with respect to usage spike.

Shopular Performance

Session lengths for the top shopping apps on Black Friday hovered in the 2-3 minute range.

Apps with Longest Session Lengths

The complete findings of our study and a few deep dives are at the interactive microsite.

Over the coming months, we will delve into different aspects of mobile application usage and share our findings with you. Our next insights post will be coming in a few weeks and will present a demographic breakdown of mobile app usage!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at
contact@quettra.com if you’d like to know more about us or would like to join us as we help understand the mobile landscape!

About the authors: Deepti Chafekar is a Research Scientist focused on transforming raw data into actionable intelligence, and Hope Armstrong is a Visual and Interaction Designer focused on storytelling across all of Quettra’s products.