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IBM: Mobile Surpasses PC Shopping on Thanksgiving for the First Time

ARMONK, N.Y.—For the first time, online traffic from mobile devices outpaced traditional PCs on Thanksgiving Day, according to IBM’s real-time analysis of transaction data. Thanksgiving Day reached a new mobile tipping point with browsing on smartphones and tablets accounting for 52.1 percent of all online traffic. Overall, Thanksgiving online sales were up 14.3 percent compared to 2013.

The mobile momentum carried into Black Friday. Overall, Black Friday online sales were up 9.5 percent year-over-year with mobile devices accounting for one in four of all online purchases. New York City also retained its title as the top U.S. city for Black Friday online shopping.

IBM tracked consumer transaction data in real time with its Digital Analytics Benchmark platform and came in within 1 percent accuracy, it said.

As as of 12 a.m. on Saturday, Thanksgiving Day mobile traffic accounted for 52.1 percent of all online traffic, while Black Friday mobile traffic reached 49.6 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 25 percent over last year. Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9 percent of total online sales, up 28.2 percent over 2013.

Smartphones drove 34.7 percent of all Black Friday online traffic, more than double that of tablets, which accounted for 14.6 percent of all traffic. Yet, when it comes to mobile sales, tablets continue to win the shopping war – driving 16 percent of online sales compared to 11.8 percent for smartphones, a difference of 35.5 percent. Tablet users also averaged $126.50 per order compared to $107.55 for smartphone users, a difference of 17.6 percent.

Average order value on Thanksgiving was $125.25, down 1.8 percent from 2013. Black Friday was $129.37, down 4.4 percent. Black Friday online sales were 63.5 percent higher than Thanksgiving Day. This is a decrease from 2013, however, when it was 70 percent higher as Thanksgiving online sales continue to eat into Black Friday shopping.

New York City claimed the top spot for Black Friday online shopping followed by Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago. New York City shoppers spent on average $121.91 per order on Black Friday.

iOS once again led the way in mobile shopping, outpacing Android across three key metrics on Black Friday:
—Average Order Value: iOS users averaged $121.86 per order compared to $98.07 for Android users, a difference 24.3 percent.
—Online Traffic: iOS traffic accounted for 34.2 percent of total online traffic, more than double that of Android, which drove 15 percent of all online traffic.
—Online Sales: iOS sales accounted for 21.9 percent of total online sales, nearly quadruple that of Android, which drove 5.8 percent of all online sales.

When consumers did order from a PC or desktop, they spent more with an average order value of $135.33 compared to $116.02 for mobile shoppers, a difference of 16.6 percent.

IBM also analyzed trends across Facebook and Pinterest on Black Friday. Facebook referrals drove an average of $109.94 per order compared to $100.24 for Pinterest, a difference of nearly 10 percent. Facebook referrals converted online sales at more than twice the rate of Pinterest.

Retailers sent an average of 5.3 emails on Black Friday 2014, according to data from IBM subsidiary, Silverpop. The average was down more than 11 percent over the same period in 2013, as retail marketers continue to send more targeted and less frequent messages to shoppers. Open and click-through rates were 12.9 percent and 2.4 percent, on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day, compared to 15.4 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, last year.