Shopping App trends for Black Friday and Christmas

Do we dare say it out loud?! The Holiday Season is fast approaching with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas Peak all imminent…

In 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic and essential lockdowns disrupting the lives of everyone around the world, the market space has been focusing increasingly heavily on the online and mobile space, it is a dramatic increase beyond the usual shift to online we have seen in recent years. So, more than ever, it is vitally important to make sure you are successfully managing the strategy of your app marketing in anticipation of this period.

Apple Search Ads Trends: Christmas & Black Friday

As the end of the year approaches, we see a huge uplift in the number of mobile app downloads, particularly across the shopping vertical on the App Store.

Since 2015, the number of shopping app downloads has increased by 8 times and last year there were approximately 57 million UK shopping apps downloaded. Between October – December is when we see a considerable spike in app downloads (18 million) and this will continue to grow by 10% year on year.

A study from Apple showed that due to ease and convenience, 76% of UK shoppers will now do all of their shopping on their phones. Therefore, it is more important than ever before to make sure you have an effective mobile app marketing plan in place to maximise on performance during these winter months.

The two peak seasonal events that change the shopping volume trends in the App Store are, of course, Black Friday and Christmas.

Black Friday:

The first of the key season opportunities is Black Friday. Black Friday and the days closely associated with it, such as Cyber Monday, are becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

Last year, the UK saw a 21% increase in demand on the Black Friday week. The common trend shows that early birds will download a shopping app a few days ahead of Black Friday then start browsing the app, getting an idea in their minds as to what they will purchase when the big day finally arrives.

On the eve of Black Friday, search volumes for shopping terms peaks above average at 11am and by 9pm the volumes will rise to more than triple the average. This spike continues through the early hours and into Black Friday itself.

  • These spikes in trends also appear all around the world where Black Friday occurs, including the US, Brazil, India, France and Germany. The volume trends in the US around Black Friday are even higher (by around 31%), including Thanksgiving.

  • The number of deals and coupons offered by retailers on the App Store increases by 49% during this period.


The second key season opportunity is Christmas and the post-Christmas sales that follow. People are known to start their Christmas shopping as early as August, so it is essential that you are ahead of the game when it comes to holiday related promotions and bidding more aggressively on paid channels, such as Apple Search Ads.

  • Throughout December, the demand in UK shoppers increases by 5%.
  • One of our retail clients has expressed their desire to keep up with the shopping volume trends around Black Friday and Christmas, allocating additional budget towards ASA to ensure we maintain a strong brand presence during this time. We will keep the daily caps as high as we possibly can to capitalise on these periods, trying to avoid spending the budget too quickly so we aren't not showing ads in the evening (which is when a lot of people tend to do their online shopping).

SO?! How can you make sure you are ready for the busiest shopping season of the year? Below are our ‘Top Tips to Get Your App Prepped For Black Friday and Christmas Holidays'.

Start your acquisition now…

Black Friday starts earlier each year and the search market space is already seeing an uplift in searches, so sure you don't neglect an app acquisition strategy in your overall marketing plan for Black Friday.

Engage with your existing customer base…

Small business trends suggest 65% of a brand's sales are likely to be from existing customers. Capitalise on this in the run up to a big event by offering exclusive App Access to Black Friday or Christmas Gifting deals. Use push notifications and email sign-up to ensure you are pre-warning your engaged audience in advance of the peak period.

Utilise Online Customers to drive more app traffic…

Boosting your download volume will not only help your revenue, it will help grow your organic visibility in the App Store too. Why not offer online users an exclusive App Discount Code by downloading the app?

Improve the UX of the app…

If you are driving users to specific offers for Christmas or Black Friday, then ensure the flow and UX of your app makes it easy for them to access those offers. If you are using deep linking to specific pages or products make sure you are sending your users to the correct page.

Finally, stop promoting links to out-of-stock products. There is no faster way to lose a customer than to pay to acquire them but not be able to offer the specific items they actually want.

Start your Apple Search Ads activity early…

Not only is the search market already starting to see an increase with more people moving to mobile, so is the marketing budget! With competition heating up, it's vitally important to start building your conversion history and relevancy early through Apple Search Ads.

Expect and anticipate that Cost Per Taps (CPT) will start to increase at the end of November and in anticipation of Christmas as competitor bidding heats up. Acquiring as many customers as early and cheaply as possible will be beneficial in the long run!

Finally, why not test some Seasonal ASO for Black Friday and Christmas…

Testing Seasonal ASO will help you stand out in a crowded marketplace,

Experiment with some new creative or logos. We are already seeing some apps (see below) utilising Christmas themes and Black Friday offers. While commonplace in the gaming world, we are now starting to see this migrate through to the retail app space.

Simply updating your App Store listing promotional text and screenshot creatives can help improve your conversion and cut through the noise of a crowded retail space.

Start running App Store ads.

If you can't get an update through in time, just try updating your promotional text, you have 170 characters to play with! Updating the promo text is quick and easy because you can do this without submitting an app update.

Note the JD & Shein app icons are now Christmas & Black Friday themed respectively.

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and challenging times still exist but with a little attention to your app marketing using these handy hints, Christmas can still be that wonderful time of year we all want it to be.

If you want to know more about maximising your shopping apps' potential around Black Friday and Christmas get in touch with us.

Bust most importantly, don't forget to use the Redbox Platform to take your User Acquisition to the next level without having to run everything manually.

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