All marketers should now be aware that mobile is increasingly overshadowing desktop in many areas, and it seems retail searches during Christmas is one of them. 

Retail searches on mobile are expected to increase by at least 500% over the Christmas weekend alone. 

The prediction comes from Bing Ads, which analysed data from the 33% of online retail users that used its platform in 2014. 

Mobile dominated retail search last Christmas

65% of all UK retail searches where the user was looking to make a purchase were made from either a smartphone or tablet during Christmas day last year. 

And almost one in two (48%) retail searches came from a smartphone. 

These figures are perhaps unsurprising when you consider people’s behaviour on Christmas day. 

Firstly, they are likely to be at somebody else’s house where they might not have access to a desktop computer. 

But Christmas day is also a time for lots of sitting around on the sofa and being unable to move due to copious amount of booze or food or the need to recover from too much night-before fun. 

Think these guys:

Royle family on sofa at Christmas

The point is: mobile seems the natural fit for Christmas Day ecommerce when you consider it against people’s behaviour on the day. 

Christmas Day peak search times by device

Now let’s delve a bit deeper into the figures and look at when these surges in Christmas Day ecommerce are actually occurring. 

The biggest surge in mobile search last year came between 4pm-10pm, during which time it increased by an enormous 500%. 

Again, this is around the time you would most be expecting to be sat around on the sofa in a post-lunch/wine-induced slump. 

Tablet searches increased by 200% between 6pm-9pm. Interestingly, desktop did see a spike of 130% between 5-9pm, but that seems somewhat diminutive next to the number for mobile. 

Christmas weekend retail searches

Boxing Day peak search times by device

December 26 saw customers rising early to search for deals on their mobile devices, with a 450% spike in volume beginning at 8am and lasting until midday. 

Could it be that shoppers were searching for products from their beds? Perhaps.

Or perhaps they were just at a loss for anything else to do on arguably the most chilled-out day of the year (unless you’re unlucky enough to be working in retail on that day). 

Mobile searches spiked again on Boxing Day evening, seeing a 500% spike between 6pm-10pm. 

Tablet searches spiked 200% between 9am-11am and 300% between 4pm-9pm, while desktop searches increased by 170% between 10am and 3pm. 

Retail category search volumes by device

The report also delved into retail categories to find out the search volume by device across each channel throughout the Christmas period. 

Jewellery had the most significant share of mobile search, with 72% of all Christmas period searches for these products made on a mobile phone. 

The majority of searches for consumer electronics, personal and beauty care and books also happened on mobile phones, while for home & garden and clothing & accessories most searches occurred on a desktop. 

Check out the table below for a full breakdown of retail categories by device:

Christmas weekend retail searches by retail category and device

Conclusion: multichannel wins at Christmas

Clearly online retailers need to think very carefully about how to cater for mobile shoppers over Christmas. 

Depending on the type of products they are selling, mobile could be where the majority of their customers are searching for deals.

To neglect that fact could be a very costly mistake.