This year’s Black Friday saw the highest volume of e-commerce sales ever -- but social media sites contributed a negligible share of those transactions, according to the new “Black Friday 2013” report from IBM, based on an analysis of transactions at around 800 retail Web sites.
Compared to the same period last year, the IBM study found that e-commerce sales rose 19.7% on Thanksgiving Day and 18.9% the following day, while the average order value increased 2.2% to $135.27, making it the biggest Black Friday in e-commerce history.
Unsurprisingly the largest proportion of e-commerce activity came from mobile, accounting for 25.8% of all sales on Thanksgiving and 21.8% on Black Friday. In terms of devices, smartphones accounted for more traffic (24.9%, compared to 14.2% for tablets) but tablets contributed a larger proportion of actual sales (14.4%, versus 7.2% for smartphones), leading IBM to conclude “smartphones browse, tablets buy.” Sales via tablets were also higher on average at $132.75, compared to $115.63 for smartphones.
While all this is good news for the digital economy, social media isn’t one of the big beneficiaries. In fact, IBM found that online sales from social sites contributed just 1% of total traffic to e-commerce sites on Black Friday as well as the week prior to it -- basically the same proportion as last year.
According to IBM, traffic from different social sites generated different sales figures, with shoppers referred from Pinterest spending 77% more than shoppers referred from Facebook ($92.51 versus $52.30). However Facebook referrals converted to sales at nearly four times the rate as Pinterest referrals.