Commentary

Real Americans Shop With Smartphones

If you’re a real American, you shouldn’t be reading this. You shouldn’t be reading at all, or doing anything remotely related to your chosen profession. It’s Cyber Monday, which means you’re supposed to be fully immersed in the great American pastime that is holiday shopping.

Oh, and you should be doing it on your phone. That’s right -- mobile is now as American as pumpkin pie. (It used to be sort of an East Asian thing.)

In fact, this is the first year that consumers are doing more shopping on their mobile devices than their desktops.

Mobile shopping accounted for a full 60% of all online traffic on Thanksgiving -- a number that increased by 14.8% from the same period last year, according to IBM’s ongoing Benchmark report. More to the point, mobile accounted for 54.4% of all online traffic on Black Friday, a figure that went up 16.6% year-over-year.

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That said, U.S. consumers are still doing more browsing on their phones than actual buying, but that’s changing.

On Thanksgiving Day, 40% of all sales were completed on mobile devices (including tablets), but that share is up significantly from last year, when only a third of sales were completed via mobile gadget.

Americans are also showing a willingness to purchase higher-ticket items on their gadgets. On average, smartphone shoppers spent $117.87 on Black Friday, which is up 5% year-over-year.

Across digital channels, consumers say they increasingly prefer to shop online to avoid the crowds, save time, and find better bargains, according to fresh findings from the Consumer Technology Association.

Yet, as consumers do more of their shopping online -- and on their phones, especially -- Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem to be losing their significance.

That’s because phones and receptive retailers are making it easier for consumers to spend at their own convenience.

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