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Record growth in online shopping over the holiday weekend

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Last month, we asked some industry experts whether economic uncertainty or increased comfort with online shopping would be the headline for this holiday season. It looks like we know the answer, with soaring online shopping stats, while in-person store visits were slashed by over 50% compared with 2019.

In October, Taylor Schreiner, Director of Digital Insights at Adobe, told us in an interview: “It’s very hard to predict with precision what’s going to happen. The biggest question in my mind is, how bad is the personal employment and disposable income situation going to become?”

On Black Friday, in a release, he said: “We are seeing strong growth as consumers continue to move shopping from offline to online this year. New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store.”

(The data in this article is derived from Adobe’s analysis of around one trillion visits to U.S. websites.)

A Thanksgiving record. Thanksgiving Day this year saw an increase of over 20% YoY in online sales, hitting a record consumer spend of over $5 billion — and almost half those transactions were conducted on smartphones, another record. The data also shows a strongly increased conversion rate for retailers offering curbside pickup for online purchases. This should be seen against a background of increased difficulties in offering swift and inexpensive shipping.

Read more about how supply chain and shipping impacts CX here.

More of the same on Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving saw records smashed too, with an almost identical YoY increase in online sales (21/6%). Consumers spent some $9 billion, making it the second largest online spending day in U.S. history, with 40% of spending coming through smartphones.

One statistic held big promise for Small Business Saturday: on Friday, small businesses saw sales increase well over 500% compared with a typical day in October, success which continued with revenue growth of almost 300% on Saturday, based on the same comparison.

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How is Cyber Monday looking? Adobe predicts that today will be the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, with consumers spending between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion.

Why we care? It looks like mass consumer adoption of online shopping has survived the continuing, and likely worsening, health and economic crises. These figures underline the wisdom of those brands which invested heavily in the e-commerce experience this year, as well as those brands that launched new e-commerce initiatives. Unfortunately, the figures are also consistent with a K-shaped recovery, in which increased spending by some consumers does not reflect prosperity across the population.

Here’s our look back at a long, strange year in digital marketing.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.


Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech Today. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English languageScreenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

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I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

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It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]Searchenginejournal.com

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