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RichRelevance Shopper Insights Reveal New Consumer Patterns Emerging for Holiday 2012

RichRelevance®, the leading provider of dynamic personalization for the world’s largest retailers, today released its 2012 Holiday Shopping Insights™ Study, available for download as an infographic here. The new research drills into more than 490 million shopping sessions on leading retail sites to pinpoint changes in how consumers are shopping and buying this holiday versus the last, uncovering the new trends driving commerce forward this holiday season.

"The story for holiday shopping 2012 isn’t simply about sales volume," said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. " New ways of shopping have emerged that will continue to change the landscape for retailers through 2013 and beyond. For the second year running, we are digging into a huge treasure trove of data to provide insights into how Americans are shopping right now at the national and regional level."

Key Findings:

  • Mobile Shopping Continues to Boom: Shopping on tablets and mobile phones doubled this year to represent 15% of all traffic. Mobile activity peaked on Thanksgiving with traffic from mobile reaching 19%.
  • Search Engine Traffic Up 43%: Consumers are turning to search engines in record numbers this holiday: one of every five shopping sessions (20%), on average, began with a search engine, compared with 14% in 2011.
  • Pinterest Gains Share from Facebook: Traffic from social sources is up 30% this holiday, but still accounts for less than .5% of all traffic to retail sites. Traffic from Pinterest has doubled from this year to last, and now accounts for nearly 10% of all traffic from social sources. Facebook still dominates but has seen its share decrease to 90% (versus 95% for Holiday 2011). Twitter is not a factor for retailers with less than 1% of share of traffic.
  • Cyber Monday Extends Into Cyber Week: Data shows that more people continue to shop post-Cyber Monday in 2012 vs. 2011. Shopping activity was twice as heavy on the Thursday and Friday following Cyber Monday this holiday as compared to last. Among all shoppers who visited retailers at least once during the holiday shopping period (from Thanksgiving through the following Friday), about one in ten were active on the Thursday (11%) or Friday (10%) following Cyber Monday. That's twice as many as 2011, where about one in twenty were active on Thursday (5%) or Friday (5%).

Key Findings: Regional

The study also breaks down consumer shopping activity by region to uncover significant variation in local shopping preferences and behavior. Insights include:

  • The Southwest (including Dallas, Oklahoma City) saw the highest mobile traffic of all regions.
  • The West Coast (including San Francisco, Seattle, Portland) buys the most expensive items.
  • The Plains (including Minneapolis, Des Moines, Omaha) saw the lowest average order value among all regions, as well as the lowest mobile usage.
  • The Great Lakes (including Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, etc.) had the most online shoppers per capita than any other region. These shoppers also spent the most time on retail sites.
  • Additional regional findings are available in the infographic.


RichRelevance's retail network accounts for one of every four dollars spent online on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The 2012 Holiday Shopping Insights Study is based on an analysis of 490 million shopping sessions, which took place in 2012 and 2011 during a ten day period beginning on Thanksgiving. Comparable days and equivalent sites are used for both 2012 and 2011. The online retail sites are all US-based and include mass merchants as well as small and specialty retailers.

Additional Resources:

  • The infographic is available for download here.
  • Connect with RichRelevance on Facebook and Twitter for updates and news.


RichRelevance delivers over 850 million product recommendations daily, powering the personalized shopping experiences for consumers shopping the world’s largest and most innovative retail brands like Walmart, Sears, Target, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis. Founded and led by the e-commerce expert who helped pioneer personalization at, RichRelevance helps retailers increase sales and customer engagement by recommending the most relevant products to consumers regardless of the channel they are shopping. RichRelevance has delivered more than $5.5 billion in attributable sales for its retail clients to date, and is accelerating these results with the introduction of a new form of digital advertising called Shopping Media which allows brands to engage consumers where it matters most—in the digital aisles on the largest retail sites in world. RichRelevance is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York, Seattle, Boston and London. For more information, please visit

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