IBM: Mobile Drove 14.3% of Black Friday Online Retail Traffic

U.S. shoppers took advantage of early sales this holiday driving a 39.3% increase in online Thanksgiving Day spending while setting the stage for 24.3% online growth on Black Friday compared to the same period last year, according to cloud-based analytics findings by IBM.

The numbers are based on findings from the IBM Coremetrics fourth annual Black Friday Benchmark which tracks more than a million transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers nationwide. The study revealed the following trends as of 12 a.m. PST:

Consumer spending increases: Strong Thanksgiving shopping carried over into Black Friday with online sales increasing 24.3% annually.

The mobile bargain hunter: Black Friday witnessed the arrival of the mobile deal seeker who embraced their devices as a research tool for in-store and online bargains. Mobile traffic increased to 14.3% on Black Friday 2011 compared to 5.6% in 2010.

Mobile sales: Sales on mobile devices surged to 9.8% from 3.2% year over year.

The Apple shopper: Mobile shopping was led by Apple, with the iPhone and iPad ranking one and two for consumers shopping on mobile devices (5.4% and 4.8% respectively). Android came in third at 4.1%. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 10.2% of all online retail traffic on Black Friday.

The iPad factor: Shoppers using the iPad led to more retail purchases more often per visit than other mobile devices with conversion rates reaching 4.6% compared to 2.8% for overall mobile devices.

Surgical shopping goes mobile: Mobile shoppers demonstrated a laser focus that surpassed that of other online shoppers with a 41.3% bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping rates of 33.1%.

The social influence: Shoppers referred from Social Networks generated 0.53% of all online sales on Black Friday. Facebook led the pack, accounting for 75% of all traffic from social networks.

Social media chatter: Boosted by a 110% increase in discussion volume compared to 2010, top discussion topics on social media sites immediately before Friday showed a focus on the part of consumers to share tips on how to avoid the rush. Topics included out-of-stock concerns, waiting times and parking, and a spike in positive sentiment around Cyber-Monday sales.

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