By Michelle Graff
New York—Black Friday, as National Jeweler has learned over years of interviewing retailers at the start of the holiday season, is not usually a big day for independent jewelers.

It’s more of a day in which consumers hit the big-box stores for deals on flat-screen TVs and other electronic gadgets, a trend underscored by what consumers were buzzing about on social media over the weekend.

According to a blog published Saturday by cloud computing and software company Salesforce, the five brands with the most mentions on social media on Black Friday were: PlayStation, Nintendo, Apple, Xbox and Google.

The five most-talked-about retailers were: Amazon, Walmart, Target, Gamestop and Best Buy.

Still, there are insights retailers can glean from the weekend following Thanksgiving, which marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

According to Salesforce, 73 percent of all traffic on retail websites came from mobile devices on Black Friday, and more than half (56 percent) of all online orders were placed on a mobile device.

The company said the day “solidified the device’s position as a true driver of digital traffic and orders.”

Social media also performed strongly, with 8 percent of all mobile retail traffic coming from a social media channel.

In addition, 4 percent of mobile orders were generated by a referral from social media, with the greatest percentage of those happening the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Salesforce said: “Social media’s influence will continue to grow as younger generations gain greater purchasing power.”

Overall, Salesforce said consumers spent $7.2 billion online on Black Friday, up 14 percent from last year.

But, that doesn’t mean the season is over before it starts for brick-and-mortar retailers, particularly those with unique products to offer.

Retail Dive reported Sunday that while in-store foot traffic was down over the weekend, the conversion rate was up, meaning that more consumers who came into stores left with a bag in their hands (after, in many cases, having researched online beforehand).

The keys for physical retailers to draw customers in this holiday season include offering consumers an in-store experience and product they can’t find at the big chains, and aligning the in-store and online experiences—websites need to be mobile-friendly, easy to navigate and offer features such as buy online, pick up in store. 

Consumers might not buy jewelry on their phones but they will be looking at product there, whether it’s on a retailer’s website or via its social media feeds.

According to the Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey published by NPD Group in October, more than half of all holiday purchases will be done in stores this holiday season, and 20 percent of online purchases will be picked up in stores, giving retailers the opportunity to sell online shoppers additional product. 

About 17 percent of consumers doing pre-purchase research online will use social media, with strength of brand and product reviews most likely to positively influence a purchase and, interestingly, celebrities most likely to do the opposite.

NPD’s survey also heralded the rise of mobile shopping this season, predicting that 25 percent of consumers who shop online will do so from their smartphones, up from 19 percent two years ago.

Later this week, National Jeweler will publish interviews with jewelers regarding their views on the holiday ahead—how much they expect to sell, which products they anticipate will be the top sellers this year and how much traffic they generated on Small Business Saturday, both in-store and online.

If you would like to be interviewed, please email Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.