The Micro-Moments Evolution: How Mobile is Changing Holiday Shopping Habits

Written on: November 25th, 2015 in

Google recently released an article on 2015 Holiday Shopping Trends and the results are both shocking and anticipated, all at once. While we’re all aware of the rise of mobile and the growing importance of offering a mobile friendly site, the impacts stem far beyond the digital world; mobile affects how we live. Because smartphones now allow us to act on impulse at any time, we take immediate action whenever we want to learn, search, do or buy.

 Google summarizes this shift as “Micro-Moments: Want-to-know moments. Want-to-go moments. Want-to-do moments. Want-to-buy moments. They're all micro-moments, and they’re the new battleground for brands.” Because of our growing desire for instant gratification, brands now face a new challenge of adapting to the on-the-go consumer.

So what does this mean for holiday shopping? 

According to Google, holiday shopping is now happening in moments, not marathons. “Rather than relying on daylong trips to the mall or camping out overnight during Black Friday, shoppers will be turning to their mobile phones in hundreds of micromoments, every day, all season long. In fact, 54% of all holiday shoppers say that they plan to shop on their smartphones in spare moments throughout the day, like walking or commuting."2

For today's constantly connected consumers, shopping never sleeps. Because consumers are shopping on-the-go, and on their own schedules, early morning and day-long shopping marathons on single sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are slowly becoming unnecessary. Every day is a shopping day, so why wake up early to face the in-store stampedes?

google mobile

Another interesting finding from the study is that shopping-related searches on mobile have grown more than 120% year-over-year.3 Google noted a steady increase in searches for “gifts and presents” all season – not just on these special shopping days.


So the major takeaway from these studies is the undeniable importance of delivering a mobile friendly site so users can easily access content, inform purchase decisions, learn and buy all year long. Consumers are now engaging with brands  anytime, anywhere and in return, brands must address their needs with real-time relevance.

To be successful in this evolving consumer journey, Google recommends the following:

1. Be there. (Especially on mobile)

Prospects will be hitting your site on mobile . It's your job to anticipate those micro-moments and be there at that time to help and provide value. Plus, just your presence alone on mobile can increase brand awareness. 

Studies have shown that you can increase unaided brand awareness by 6.9 percentage points—or by 46%—simply by showing up in mobile search ad results.4

2. Be useful.

"If you want to win the hearts and minds (and dollars) of consumers in their I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments; you’ll need to do more than just show up. You need to be useful and meet their needs in those moments. That means connecting people to what they’re looking for in real time and providing relevant information when they need it."5

3. Be quick.

Consumers want immediate gratification. If your mobile site isn't optimized and running like a well-oiled machine, users will leave and seek your competitors faster site.  

29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (for example, they can’t find information or it’s too slow).6 

You must eliminate steps required for users to take action, anticipate the user's needs and load fast.

4. Connect the dots.

You must consider your strategy across channels. Because "You don’t have mobile customers and desktop customers. You just have customers."7


Allison Boyajian

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