Smartphones Drive Holiday Retail Traffic, Tablets Drive Sales: IBM

When it comes to making the sale, tablets drove 19.4 percent of online sales, more than twice that of smartphones, which accounted for 9.3 percent.

Smartphones drove 28.5 percent of all online traffic compared to tablets at 18.1 percent, making it the browsing device of choice, according to IBM’s digital analytics benchmark for holiday shopping trends.

When it comes to making the sale, however, tablets drove 19.4 percent of all online sales, more than twice that of smartphones, which accounted for 9.3 percent.

Overall Christmas Day online sales were up 16.5 percent over the same period last year, while mobile traffic was the highest the company had seen over this holiday season, accounting for 48 percent of all online traffic, up 28.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

Mobile sales also remained strong, approaching 29 percent of all online sales, up 40 percent over 2012. Tablet users averaged $95.61 per order, versus smartphone users, who averaged $85.11 per order.

Social media also played a larger roll this year than ever before, with shoppers referred from Facebook averaging $72.01 per order, versus Pinterest referrals, which drove $86.83 per order.

However, the report noted Facebook referrals converted sales at nearly four times the rate of Pinterest referrals, perhaps indicating stronger confidence in network recommendations.

As a percentage of total online sales, Apple’s iOS platform was more than five times higher than Android, driving 23 percent versus 4.6 percent for Android.

In addition, iOS users spent $93.94 per order, nearly twice that of Android users, who spent $48.10 per order. Apple’s mobile platform also led as a component of overall traffic with 32.6 percent versus just 14.8 percent for Android.

According to the 2013 Mobile Shopping Satisfaction Report by mobile engagement provider Mobiquity, Target is now the most-browsed mobile application or mobile site, and Apple’s mobile app/site is where consumers purchase the most, both usurping Wal-Mart’s prior top position in Mobiquity’s 2012 study.

The research also indicated that issues with the design and user experience of retailers’ mobile apps and sites are the leading causes of shoppers giving up on a brand.

Half of shoppers complained that shopping on retailers’ tablet apps involves too many steps, and 49 percent said they couldn’t find the products they were looking for on retailers’ tablet sites. Images were too difficult to see on 41 percent of smartphone sites and 35 percent of retailers’ smartphone apps.

However, compared to the company’s 2012 study of retail brands’ mobile apps and sites, the volume of mobile shopping has increased significantly in 2013, in some cases even tripling.