How Mcommerce and Tablet Commerce Impacted Holiday 2011 Sales

Mobile’s importance as a marketing channel grew significantly in 2011. Merchants are starting to see as much as 14% of their online sales from mobile devices, according to IBM Coremetrics data. As the mobile channel grows, the challenge for marketers is to understand these consumers and their motives. By analyzing data from the 2011 holiday season, we find some intriguing insights.

Mobile’s importance
First off, let’s review the growing significance of the mobile channel. A number of iProspect’s clients started to see major shifts in traffic and revenue this holiday season. The immediacy of mobile is being utilized by consumers on key shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In addition, mobile’s share of revenue increase the week of Christmas. Last minute shoppers were utilizing their mobile devices while in-store to check prices, inventory and store hours.

As Cam Balzer, chief marketing officer at crowdsourcing t-shirt company Threadless, states, “Mobile is reaching the point where it’s non-optional. It’s becoming critical on traffic.”

Consumer behavior
With the holiday season coming to a close, we can now reflect on the data gathered from these mobile consumers to find key insights. At iProspect, we have noticed a huge difference between mobile consumers and desktop consumers but the differences do not end there. We also have seen different behaviors from tablet consumers and smartphone consumers. Lastly, the operating system of the mobile device also tells us about the consumers and their behaviors.

Here are some key findings from our holiday mobile campaigns:

Mobile: Tablets & Smartphones

  • Black Friday shoppers and last minute shoppers took advantage of mobile’s immediacy to do their holiday shopping.
  • Mobile’s share of traffic and revenue increased the week before Christmas to as high as 17%. Mobile’s share remained elevated after the holidays as new consumers received tablet and smartphone as gifts for the holidays.


  • Tablet owners tend to have higher incomes and be tech savvy. This leads to a higher propensity to purchase online.
  • In addition, tablets provide for a more intuitive shopping experience than smartphones, consumers are more likely to purchaser larger ticket items on a tablet vs. a smartphone. This is evident in a 15% higher average order value for tablets then smartphones.
  • Tablets are critical to online mobile revenue. For one of our large national retail clients, tablet traffic made up 21% of their mobile traffic but 53% of their mobile revenue during the holiday season.


  • Smartphone consumers use their phone in a more practical sense then tablet consumers.
  • Smartphone consumers are more likely to access local store information than tablet consumers. Location extensions are 10 times more popular on smartphone devices than tablet devices with one out of every 10 smartphone users calling a local store.
  • iPhone users spend on average 4% more than their Android counterparts and are 14% more likely to make an online purchase.

Mobile’s influence on online sales is growing, as evident by the ever-increasing share of traffic and revenue from mobile devices this holiday season. Learning about mobile consumers is increasingly important due the high growth rates.

Consumer behavior differs from the various mobile devices. Tablet consumers are more likely to make a purchase from your online site while smart phone users are more likely to call a local store for information.

If not already done so, marketers should separate their mobile marketing efforts by device type and operating system to better meet the needs of mobile consumers. Mobile marketing has reached a point where it can no longer be ignored.

Scott Randel is a paid search strategist with iProspect.