IBM said Cyber Monday 2011 was a big hit, driven largely by mobile devices.
The U.S. online retail sector delivered strong growth on Cyber Monday 2011 compared with the same period last year, according to cloud-based analytics findings by IBM.
IBM's findings expand on the company's earlier report that Thanksgiving Day 2011 saw a record number of online retail sales that set the stage for a strong Black Friday.
As part of IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative, IBM's online retail benchmark study showed that in a year-over-year comparison of Cyber Monday 2011 versus Cyber Monday 2010, online sales were up 33 percent over 2010, with consumers pushing the average order value up from $193.24 to $198.26 for an increase of 2.6 percent.
"Cyber Monday was once again the big winner for the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season, with a record number of consumers focused on finding the best online deals," said John Squire, chief strategy officer for IBM Smarter Commerce. "Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to swiftly adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend."
IBM said shopping peaked at 2:05 p.m. EST, with consumers flocking online at this time. And consumer shopping also maintained strong momentum after commuting hours on both the East and West Coast, IBM said.
But mobile told the story. On Cyber Monday, 10.8 percent of people used a mobile device to visit a retailer's site, up from 3.9 percent in 2010. Additionally, mobile sales grew dramatically, reaching 6.6 percent on Cyber Monday versus 2.3 percent in 2010.
Meanwhile, in a comparison between Cyber Monday 2011 and Black Friday 2011, IBM found that online sales were up 29.3 percent over Black Friday. However, mobile was down compared with Black Friday. On Cyber Monday mobile traffic averaged 10.8 percent compared with 14.3 percent on Black Friday. And consumer sales on mobile devices reached 6.6 percent versus 9.8 percent on Black Friday.
Yet, Apple's iPhone and iPad continued to rank one and two for mobile device retail traffic, with 4.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. Android maintained its position in third at 3.2 percent. Collectively, iPhone and iPad accounted for 7.4 percent of all online retail traffic versus 10.2 percent on Black Friday. Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device, with conversion rates reaching 5.2 percent compared with 4.6 percent.
There also was a subtle social network influence to the shopping. Shoppers referred from social networks generated 0.56 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday versus 0.53 percent on Black Friday. Similar to Black Friday, Facebook led the pack, accounting for 86 percent of all social media traffic. Yet, discussions on social media sites leading up to Cyber Monday increased in volume by 115 percent compared with 2010. Top areas of discussion focused on consumers sharing tips about using price comparison Websites while avoiding cyber-scams, Cyber Monday deals for international consumers and conversations about Black Friday in-store shopping experiences.
IBM's findings are based on results from the company's fourth annual Cyber Monday Benchmark, which tracks more than 1 million transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers nationwide. With this data, IBM helps retailers better understand and respond to their customers-across the organization-improving sourcing, inventory management, marketing, sales and services programs.