This Black Friday was a hit for online shopping with no signs of slowing down. Researchers are raving about the success of this shopping season, especially when it comes to how much more consumers are shopping online. Consumers spent $4.45 billion on online shopping this season, steadily increasing from previous years. Sales from smartphones accounted for 22% percent of mobile sales, a huge 70% jump from last year. The great news is emails drove a quarter of the traffic for Black Friday sales. Thursday was swapped for Monday when it came to what day companies sent most of their messages. As shopping season kicked into full gear, all industries upped their email engagement, sending way more emails than they did for October, but most companies are still lagging when it comes to a mobile strategy.

With all these tidbits in mind, let’s go over how digitally prepared the top industries were this shopping season.


According to MailCharts data, half of all email communication from retailers had to do with some sort of sale or promotion, right on the email-to-online-purchase path. In addition, companies sent an average of 28 emails for the month of November. That’s five emails more, on average, than last month (so about one extra email per week), and 10 emails more than the average for all other industries.

For the month of November, Mondays between 7 a.m. and noon were the most popular times for retail companies to send emails. However only 28% of these emails were optimized for mobile, which according to research can undermine your bottom line especially if your brand targets younger generations.

Fashion & Clothing

With fashion being one the most popular shopping categories for the holidays, last month clothing companies were on top of their email game. Fashion and clothing companies sent an average of more than 35 emails to their subscribers, with more than 51% of these messages dealing with promotions.  However only 26% of these emails were optimized for mobile, although mobile sales represented more than half of all shopping this season, especially from emails. Mondays between 7a.m. and noon were the most popular times to send emails, with messages sent at later times in the day decreasing steadily.

One simple way to optimize your emails for mobile is by reducing the size of the images in the body of the email, as well as making the images proportional to the size of the screens in which they will be opened. This way, your messages load faster in mobile devices, avoiding a drop in conversion rates. This is particularly important if you use gifs as these tend to be heavy. Check out the images for the emails below, which do a great job of sizing their images for a mobile screen.


On the digital side, ecommerce companies performed better than other industries, with 32% of their emails being optimized for mobile during November. However, their holiday shopping spirit was a bit duller as only 42% of their emails were promotion related. These companies also sent less emails than other industries, averaging at 24 messages for the month. Mondays between 10a.m. and noon were the most popular times for this industry to send their messages.


With 60% of emails being optimized for mobile, enterprise companies are the true digital MVP’s. However, as an industry it sent far less emails than all others, averaging at nine emails per company for the month, and only 20% of them were promotion related.

What does all this mean for you?

Last month, the possibilities to turn your email campaign to the mobile world were outlined, and with this new research they are bulleted, highlighted and bolded. Check out these tips to get your mobile plan moving.

  • Take a look at these emails from Urban Outfitters and Nasty Gal, which not only have great emails, but also have a completely mobile shopping experience.
  • Try the path. Open a mobile-optimized email and click to get to the mobile-optimized landing page and online store. Is this something you can see your target demographic enjoying as a shopper?
  • Compare and contrast this path with the non-mobile experience, and take note of how many more steps your shoppers would have to go through to make a purchase. Is it even more difficult to make the purchase if the message includes a promotion?