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Cyber Five U.S. Shopping Trends 2021

Team InMobi
Team InMobi
4 min read
Posted on November 11, 2021
Cyber Five U.S. Shopping Trends 2021

Historically, the period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, also sometimes known as Cyber Five, was the busiest part of the U.S. holiday shopping season. Will that be the case again this year? 

For one, shopping on Thanksgiving Day and on Black Friday will look very different this year. Major retailers like Best Buy, Target and Walmart have already announced that their stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. And between retail staffing shortages and lingering concerns around gathering indoors, Black Friday may look very different this year too. 

And compounding everything are the ongoing supply chain worries. Will consumers still want to shop during this time of the year this year or will they shop earlier to snag wanted items while they still can? 

To get a better sense of what Cyber Five might look like this year, we surveyed well over 1,700 Americans in October using InMobi Pulse, InMobi’s mobile market research solution. Here’s what we found. 

Key Takeaways 

  • As of mid-October, 81% of consumers have completed less than half of their holiday gift shopping, while 60% have yet to start. 
  • Cyber Five shoppers are driven to choose specific retailers to shop based on lower prices (24%) and convenience (22%) over other motivators. 
  • Consumers shopping for gifts via app are significantly more likely to shop during Cyber Five as compared to consumers unlikely to shop for gifts via app. 

When Will Americans Shop This Holiday Season? 

Because of continuing supply chain issues, many retailers are pushing consumers to shop early to snag wanted items while they’re still available. But are Americans heeding this message? 

According to our data, the answer here is no. Overall, 60% say they haven’t started yet.  

So when will Americans begin shopping this holiday season? According to our research, the Cyber Five time period remains a popular starting point for most adults in the U.S. 

Overall, 42% said they are likely or highly likely to buy holiday gifts at some point between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. Among people who plan to use a retailer’s own app to shop this year, this increases to 66%. 

Unpacking 2021 Cyber Five Shopping Trends 

What will Cyber Five shoppers be looking to buy? Top answers were home electronics (24%) and home goods (23%) followed by apparel (21%), toys (16%), beauty products (16%), sporting goods (13%) and pet products (12%). 

According to our research, here’s where these shoppers will turn to for their Cyber Five holiday shopping: 

  • For home goods, consumers say they are likely to shop with Amazon (48%), Walmart (47%), Target (32%), Home Goods (28%) and Kohl’s (21%). 
  • For apparel, consumers say they are likely to shop with TJ Maxx (32%), Macy’s (29%), Dick’s Sporting Goods (20%), Nordstrom (9%) and Neiman Marcus (7%). 
  • For toys, consumers say they are likely to shop with Walmart (59%), Target (45%), dollar stores (23%) and Best Buy (19%). 

Unpacking U.S. Holiday Shopper Motivations 

As part of our Cyber Five research, we also wanted to look at how shoppers determine what to buy and what motivates them to make a purchase. Here's what we found. 

Overall, consumers are still mostly browsing in person. A third say they discover holiday gift items to later buy simply by browsing in a physical store. 

But, online browsing remains popular. Over one in five say they discover holiday gift ideas through Google searches, while 14% say they learn about new products through ads on their phone (for those between 18 and 34, this figure jumps to 18%). Additionally, 12% say they browse using a retailer’s own app to browse. 

And our research found that sales remain a key way to get consumers to buy this holiday season. Close to half said they are likely or highly likely to wait for holiday gift items to go on sale before purchasing them – for those planning to shop via apps, this jumps to 64%. 

We saw something similar when we asked consumers why they shop for gifts at specific stores or websites during the Cyber Five period – close to one in four said it’s because prices are lower.  

How To Prepare for The Cyber Five Period 

With Thanksgiving less than a month away, what can brands and retailers do now to prepare for Cyber Five?  

  • Focus now on product discovery: Since so many consumers have yet to start their holiday shopping, now is an ideal time to focus on awareness. Mobile ads, among other tactics, are an ideal option here.
  • Invest in driving app downloads: For retailers that have their own e-commerce apps, now is an ideal time to focus on user acquisition and retention. As our data shows, consumers with a retail app are more likely to shop during Cyber Five compared to non-app owners.  
  • Highlight low prices, deals and convenience: What actually gets consumers to buy? According to our data, shoppers are primarily motivated by price and convenience. To drive sales during Cyber Five, messaging should inform consumers about how they can meet their needs around pricing, sales and convenience. 

Interested in learning more about InMobi and how we work with brands and retailers during this key time of the year? Reach out today to speak with one of InMobi’s experts

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