Big Lift in Digital, Mobile Sales Over Holidays

January 2, 2014

By Karl Greenberg, MediaPost

The holiday season just passed saw huge gains in digital and mobile sales transactions, with consumers buying everything from apparel to home goods to health and beauty aids through big and little screens. IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark finds that over the fourth quarter, online sales were up 10.3 percent year over year versus 2012.

The study said mobile accounted for 35 percent of all online shopping traffic, a 40 percent increase versus the fourth quarter of 2012. And this year, mobile sales were 16.6 percent of all online sales, up more than 46 percent versus the year before.

There was a big increase in smartphone sales, with these mobile devices driving 21.3 percent of all online traffic, nearly double that of tablets at 12.8 percent. But tablets drove 11.5 percent of all actual online sales, a percentage twice that of that of smartphones, which accounted for 5 percent. Tablet users also averaged $118.09 per order, versus smartphone users, who averaged $104.72 per order, per IBM's study.

Shoppers favored iOS platforms fivefold versus Android, driving 12.7 percent versus 2.6 percent for the latter. IBM says iOS users also spent $115.42 per order, 40 percent higher than Android users, who spent $83.56 per order. iOS also led as a component of overall traffic with 22.1 percent vs. 10.6 percent for Android.

On social media, shoppers referred from Facebook spent an average of $60.48 per order, versus Pinterest referrals, which drove $109.93 per order. But Facebook referrals converted at more than three and a half times the rate of Pinterest referrals, per IBM.

The study also found that department stores drove fourth-quarter online sales, with a 62.8 percent growth over last year, with mobile sales growing by 49.6 percent year over year. In product categories, health and beauty grew by 14.7 percent in the fourth quarter, with mobile sales growing by 81.7 percent year over year. Online sales of home goods grew by more than 46.4 percent versus 2012, with mobile sales growing by 38 percent. Fourth quarter online sales of apparel grew by 10.2 percent over 2012, with mobile sales growing by 54.5 percent year over year.

IBM reported that the results were driven in part by record online sales over Thanksgiving (up 19.7 percent versus 2012), Black Friday (up 19 percent) and Cyber Monday (up 20.6 percent).


"Big Lift in Digital, Mobile Sales Over Holidays." Karl Greenberg. MediaPost, 01/02/14.

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