Holiday Shopping App Marketing Mobile

2023 Black Friday results exceed 2022's for e-commerce mobile apps, says recent data



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December 21, 2023 | 5 min read

By Sue Azari, e-commerce industry lead, AppsFlyerDespite a new privacy landscape and cautious consumers, Black Friday 2023 proved a success for e-commerce apps, surpassing 2022’s results, according to AppsFlyer’s Black Friday data

By Sue Azari, e-commerce industry lead, AppsFlyer

Despite a new privacy landscape and cautious consumers, Black Friday 2023 proved a success for e-commerce apps, surpassing 2022’s results, according to AppsFlyer’s Black Friday data.

Spend on mobile reached a tipping point over desktop, discounts deepened, and cash-strapped consumers seized on 'buy now pay later' schemes to make their money go further. All against the background of a spike in installs and successful user acquisition efforts on iOS.

Surge in e-commerce and mobile-driven sales

Mobile has become a key growth driver in the digital economy, with many consumers clearly finding the experience on a par with desktop shopping. Smartphone sales drove 51.8% of online sales (up from 49.9% in 2022) in the US while mobile overtook desktop spend in the UK too, driving over half (£6.5bn of the £12bn) spent online in the UK between the 1st and 27 November.

UK retailers’ app-first approach drove a 22% growth in eCommerce app spend on Black Friday 2023 versus Black Friday 2022, and the US followed with a 13% increase, according to AppsFlyer’s data.

Strategic marketing on iOS is reaping rewards

Despite Apple’s heightened privacy rules under ATT making it harder to target mobile advertising, we are seeing payback on marketers’ strategic efforts in iOS. November installs in the UK went up 40% for Android and 99% for iOS, versus November 2022.

However, non-organic installs rang the changes between iOS and Android. UK iOS non-organic install figures for November rose by 176% over November 2022, leaving Android trailing at 47%. In the US, non-organic iOS installs went up more modestly, a 37% rise for November 2023 compared to November 2022, yet left Android in the dust, rising only 6% in the same period.

UK brands and consumers widened their install and shopping windows

AppsFlyer data indicates that the Black Friday phenomenon is expanding beyond a day of frantic purchases. Consumers started downloading their apps earlier in November and only turned down the tempo much later in the month, spreading the shopping season, or at least the season of spend intent, over the whole month.

Black Friday over recent years has expanded from a marketing moment to fill almost the whole month of November, with brands keen to create a larger spending window. High installs, spread over a longer period of time, may have been a response to innovative retailers such as Puma Group, H&M, and Gymshark taking an app-first loyalty-driven approach, they all offered app-exclusive Black Friday offers with a percentage off to drive new users to install their app and reward existing app users.

Innovative retailers who ran early or extended sales were also more likely to cash in on Black Friday falling a week before payday for most UK workers. For example, skincare brand, The Ordinary, offered 23% off purchases throughout November in a campaign that encouraged consumers to shop at their leisure.

US consumers showed the highest installs on Black Friday itself, when they jumped 49% and in the two weeks before the Black Friday, and were less likely to start downloading earlier in the month.

Heavier discounts and BNPL swung price-conscious consumers

US discounts were higher than 2022’s across most categories tracked, with computers at 24% (versus 20%), TVs at 19% (versus 17%), and clothing at 23% (versus 18%). In the UK, average online prices saw a 12 percent discount compared to pre-holiday season levels.

In the US, Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) drove $940 million in online spending on Cyber Monday, up a staggering 42.5% YoY as consumers sought more flexible payment arrangements. UK shoppers used BNPL to spend £101m on Black Friday, comprising 9.7% of the total online spend for the day, and marking a 3.4% rise from Black Friday 2022.

Marketers’ efforts paid off

Marketing teams have successfully adapted to the changing privacy landscape, recognizing the pivotal role of iOS, and capitalizing on this platform by allocating resources, securing significant returns. In 2024, marketers will need to continue building customer engagement, optimizing their post-Black Friday activity and with it, user loyalty, to reap the rewards into 2024 and beyond.

Holiday Shopping App Marketing Mobile


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