Couch commerce kicks off on Thanksgiving Night

PayPal (s ebay) said U.S. shoppers aren’t going to wait until Black Friday to get their shopping started. They’ll begin their gift hunting the day before — on Thanksgiving — from a mobile device. Of course, as those who have covered the retail industry are aware, manufactured shopping days such as Cyber Monday sometimes have more buzz than bucks.

The company said a new consumer buying pattern has emerged recently with shoppers taking to their smartphones and tablets to buy gifts on Thanksgiving, right around the time the turkey dinner is over. PayPal’s Laura Chambers, senior director of PayPal Mobile, calls it “couch commerce” and said it would be the first spike in holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday. She said the prediction is based on trends that have surfaced in the last few years as well as a consumer survey conducted recently on behalf of PayPal. Said Chambers:

We’re predicting that after dinner on Thanksgiving Day will be the first mobile shopping spike this holiday season. Retailers looking to lure these early holiday shoppers should think about extending offers and deals to these mobile buyers.

Here’s some of the data PayPal got back from respondents in its mobile shopping survey:

  • Almost half (46 percent) said they plan to make holiday purchases with a mobile device this year.
  • More than 60 percent of mobile buyers will make mobile purchases at home.
  • Nearly one-quarter of mobile buyers spent more than $100.
  • More than one-third (35 percent) of mobile purchases are spontaneous.

As we’ve written recently, this holiday season will be a big one for mobile shopping. Google (s goog) said recently that 15 percent of Black Friday searches will be from a mobile device and 44 percent of total searches for last-minute gifts and store locator terms will be from mobile devices. And consistent with PayPal, Google found that a third of mobile shoppers plan to start their shopping before Thanksgiving.

It shouldn’t be surprising that mobile shopping is growing more popular and is expanding beyond just Black Friday. But it’s interesting to see how mobile devices will play a part in kicking off the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving Day. Most stores will be closed that day and many people will be just lounging about in a turkey-induced haze. But with shopping season kicking into high gear in just a matter of hours, I can see why more and more people would just check their mobile devices and casually start their shopping hunt early on Thanksgiving night.

This does seem like another opportunity for retailers to reach out to consumers. Not everyone is going to plop themselves in front of a laptop of desktop on Thanksgiving, but many won’t have a problem consulting their mobile device from home to see if any deals have started popping up.

Image courtesy of Flickr users shareski