Forbes | iPhone Love: Black Friday’s Big Online Winners

By Alex Konrad
December 18, 2012

iPhone Love: Black Friday’s Big Online Winners

This Thanksgiving, tech-savvy shoppers really wanted an iPhone—but they weren’t buying the shiny new iPhone 5. According to exclusive data from payment tracker Slice, online shoppers spent over three times as much on iPhones this year as they did in 2011—but older models got the most love.

Slice tracks your payments from your email history and makes it easy to track their shipping, but it also backlogs your purchases from before you joined the service. That means the company—which CEO Scott Brady says is at its ethos “a bunch of data scientists from Stanford”—can play with data from over 500,000 retailers and 45 million purchases. This time, Slice ran year to year comparisons for online sales  during the period from Black Friday through the Wednesday after Cyber Monday to see which ecommerce giants feasted the most after the holiday.

The biggest winner this year? iPhones, with sales across all models up 301%, but not specifically because of Apple‘s new iPhone 5. While that model undoubtedly drove some sales, Slice says that the biggest factor it observed driving iPhone popularity with ecommerce shoppers was actually AT&T’s promotional sales of its older iPhone 4 and 4S models.

Tablets from Apple and Amazon also fared better this year: iPad sales increased by 40%, while Amazon’s Kindle products had consumers shelling out 41% more than in 2011. Like with the iPhones, users appear to have prioritized good deals ahead of having the newest models. When Slice compared Apple and Amazon’s latest tablet models—Apple’s iPad Mini and new iPad with retina display and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD in two sizes—the company found that purchasers preferred Apple to the tune of 55%. But when Slice zoomed out to include the older iPad 2 and other Kindle offerings, Amazon won out with Kindle’s range of products taking 74% of sales.

Thanks to its more expensive products, Apple continued to lead the ecommerce field in daily average spend, but those values dropped, perhaps influenced by shoppers’ preference for on-sale older models: users spent an average $595 on each Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, but this year that average fell to $520 on Black Friday and $308 for the Monday.

While Amazon’s wider array of offerings makes it natural that the company see much lower average spends, Slice users shopping on Amazon spent less per purchase than they did last year, even as the company’s percent of spending soared from 26% on Black Friday and 31% on Cyber Monday last year to 35% and 40% for 2012, making it by far the leading merchant for shopping over the period. By comparison, Apple’s pricier products made up only 5% of Black Friday spend, the same percentage as Macy’s, Walmart, and eBay.


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