Big Lift In Digital, Mobile Sales Over Holidays

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% year-over-year versus 2012.

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

There was a big increase in smartphone sales, with these mobile devices driving 21.3% of all online traffic -- nearly double that of tablets at 12.8%. But tablets drove 11.5% of all actual online sale -- a percentage twice that of smartphones, which accounted for 5%. 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% versus 2.6% for the latter. IBM says iOS users also spent $115.42 per order -- 40% higher than Android users, who spent $83.56 per order. iOS also led as a component of overall traffic, with 22.1% vs. 10.6% 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% growth over last year, with mobile sales growing by 49.6% year-over-year. In product categories, health and beauty grew by 14.7% in the fourth quarter, with mobile sales growing by 81.7% year-over-year. Online sales of home goods grew by more than 46.4% versus 2012, with mobile sales growing by 38%. Fourth-quarter online sales of apparel grew by 10.2% over 2012, with mobile sales growing by 54.5% year-over-year.

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

"Online Shopping" photo from Shutterstock.

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