What day of the week should retailers roll out online promotions?

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Key Findings

  1. Shopping is no longer limited to weekends. Consumers go shopping on their desktops, tablets and smartphone throughout the week.
  2. Smartphone shoppers browse e-commerce websites throughout the week. Conversion rates pick up on Thursdays and Fridays but drop significantly on Saturdays. A strong spike of conversions on Sundays makes the tail end of the weekend the best day for retailers to target smartphone shoppers.
  3. Tablet shoppers start browsing e-commerce websites on Wednesdays before it peaks on Sundays. Conversion rates pick up on Saturdays and peak on Sundays before gradually falling to their lowest point on Fridays. Retailers aiming to target tablet shoppers should start introducing promotions on Wednesday to increase awareness and officially launch them on Saturdays when tablet shoppers start buying.
  4. Desktop shoppers browse e-commerce websites mostly during the weekday. Desktop shoppers’ share of traffic drops significantly from a high of 16% on Thursdays to 12% share on both Saturdays and Sundays. Conversion rates stay steady around an average of 2.76% a day during the weekday but spike to their highest level at 3% on Sundays. Despite the spike in conversion rates on Sundays, retailers are better off targeting desktop shoppers during the weekdays when traffic shares are an average 14.8% a day and revenue shares are an average 15% a day compared to 12% for each of the metrics during the weekend.

Introduction

Shopping trips are no longer just another weekend chore. Consumers are looking at products and buying them throughout the week.

The shift in shopping trips from a weekend only outing to an everyday activity is in large part driven by new technology.

A decade ago, desktops and home broadband connections delivered consumers the convenience of shopping from their living rooms.

Today, smartphones, tablets, and mobile-internet empower shoppers to buy products anytime, anywhere.

Can retailers roll out their promotion plans to coincide with the day that has the highest consumer traffic? Is there a day in the week when consumers spend most online?

While common sense might lead one to conclude that weekends are good days to push promotions and drive revenues, the reality is a bit more complicated.

Smartphone Shopper Behavior, by Day of the Week

The common belief that weekends are best days for shopping is only half correct for smartphone shoppers. While Sundays stand out as the day with the highest share of traffic (15%) and the highest conversion rates (0.65%), Saturdays witness a dip in both metrics (14% and 0.59% respectively). In fact conversion increase from Wednesdays (0.58%) to Fridays (0.64%) before falling on Saturdays.

jpeg US smartphone shoppers stay active throughout the week.001_

Smartphone Shopper – Browsing Behavior

Smartphone shoppers do not have a preference regarding what day they browse through e-commerce sites.

Recent data on weekly smartphone traffic to e-commerce websites shows that there is little variation in daily shopper traffic. Tuesdays had the least share of weekly traffic at 13% while Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday tied for the largest share at 15% of weekly smartphone traffic.

Smartphone Shopper – Buying Behavior

An indifferent browsing behavior does not mean smartphone shoppers are also spending uniformly across all days of the week.

The research showed that there is a slightly larger variation in daily revenues from smartphone shoppers. Tuesdays had the lowest share of weekly revenues at 12%. Thursdays had the largest share of revenues (16%), slightly ahead of Sunday, Wednesday and Friday (each at 15% share).

Conversion rates among smartphone shoppers were highest on Sundays (0.65%) followed by Fridays (0.64%) and Thursdays (0.61%).

While Thursdays had the largest share of revenues, it only had the 3rd largest conversion rate for the week. This suggests that smartphone shoppers are buying more expensive items on Thursdays. The same goes for Wednesdays, which had the lowest conversion rate of all days (0.58%) but the second highest share of revenues (15%).

Tablet Shopper Behavior, by Day of Week

Weekends are slightly more significant among tablet shoppers compared to smartphone shoppers. Similar to smartphones, Sundays stand out as the day with the highest share of traffic (17%) and the highest conversion rate (1.94%). However, conversion rates on Mondays (1.84%) beat those on Saturdays (1.82%) by a slight margin. In fact, Wednesdays recorded a conversion rate of 1.82% as well showing that buying continues during the week as well.

jpeg US tablet shoppers most active on Sundays.001_

Tablet Shopper – Browsing Behavior

When compared to smartphone shoppers, there was significant variation in browsing behavior of tablet shoppers across days of the week.

Tablet e-commerce traffic was highest during the weekend, led by Sundays (17% share of the weekly traffic) and followed by Saturdays (15% share).

Unlike smartphones, few people carry around tablets with them and even fewer use them during the weekdays. Work, school and other responsibilities allow for only one distraction – the smartphone. So it is not surprising that tablet shopper traffic peaks during the weekend.

Similar to smartphones, Tuesdays had the lowest incidence of tablet shopper traffic (12% share). So do not get alarmed if the mobile traffic to your commerce website drops on Tuesdays. It is bound to pick up again starting Wednesdays before peaking on Sundays.

Tablet Shopper – Buying Behavior

The weekly trend among tablet shoppers’ share of traffic is also reflected in their revenue share. Sundays recorded the largest share (17%) of revenue from tablet shoppers. Mondays and Saturdays tied for the second-largest share of weekly revenues (15% each).

Similar to smartphones, Tuesdays had the smallest share (12%) of weekly revenues. As traffic increased on Wednesdays, the revenue share also picked up before peaking on Sundays.

Sundays also sported the highest conversion rate (1.94%) by a significant margin among tablet shoppers. Mondays and Saturdays were relatively on par in terms of conversion rates (1.84% and 1.82%, respectively) suggesting that the weekend shopping spree spills onto Mondays before tapering off by Fridays.

Conversion rates were lowest on Thursdays (1.72%) and Fridays (1.71%) but each of the two days maintained 14% of traffic share – same as Wednesdays. This suggests that retailers targeting tablet shoppers should start introducing promotions mid week before launching them on the weekend.

Desktop Shopper Behavior, by Day of Week

Desktop shoppers once again bust the myth of shopping as a weekend activity. Both Saturdays and Sundays fall far behind the weekdays in terms of traffic share (12% on each day) and revenue share (11% on Saturday and 13% on Sunday). In other words, desktop shoppers mostly browse e-commerce sites and buy items during the weekday. Despite a surge in conversion rates during the weekend, the shortage of traffic is too significant to boost weekend revenue shares.

jpeg US desktop shoppers most likely to convert on Sundays.001_

Desktop Shopper – Browsing Behavior

Weekends witness the lowest share of desktop shopper traffic compared to any other day during the weekday when the share traffic share is at least 2 percent points above the weekend traffic share.

Desktop e-commerce traffic starts to increase on Wednesdays (15% share of traffic) and peaks on Thursdays (16% share) before falling to it lowest point on Saturdays and Sundays (12% each). There is a surge in traffic from desktop shoppers on Monday (15% share) before it levels off on Tuesdays at 14%.

Desktop Shopper – Buying Behavior

Similar to browsing behavior trends, desktop shoppers bring in more revenue during the weekday than on weekends. On desktops, Monday and Thursday tied for the largest share of weekly revenues (16% each), followed by Wednesdays and Fridays (15% each) and then Tuesdays (14%).

Sundays had the highest conversion rate (3%). The lack of desktop shopper traffic contributed to lower revenue shares on Sundays. The high conversion rate on Sunday is likely due to desktop shoppers redeeming bookmarked deals, offers, coupons and other promotions during the week.

While retailers can look for tactics that drive traffic up on weekends, especially Sundays, they will be better off introducing promotions on Monday to benefit from high desktop traffic throughout the week.