updated 07:10 pm EST, Mon November 26, 2012
Mobile device shoppers, iPad sales both see big jump
[Updated with additional stats and charts] IBM's Benchmark Service, which surveys 500 top retailers with over one million transations, has released final statistics for Thanksgiving Day online sales in the US. Current indications are that online sales are up over 16.4 percent from last year, and that 26.5 percent of consumers buying online are using a mobile device. Of those users, 71 percent used iPhones or iPads (36 percent and 35 percent respectively), and 28 percent used an Android product -- leaving only one percent using some other mobile device. Some specifics from the final stats are also noteworthy -- particularly for Apple.
Despite Android having more than 100 times the number of products on the market and (in combination) outselling iOS devices, it would appear that most users do not seem to use them for things like web surfing or buying online, given the lopsided usage numbers from IBM and previous web-usage and mobile-ad stats giving iOS users a huge plurality. The 26.5 percent of consumers who do use mobile devices to buy online has jumped dramatically from last year, when the figure was 15.8 percent.
Average sales using mobile devices is up to $132.57, and the average number of pages shoppers viewed is up to 7.3. Buyers tended to buy an average of 3.67 items whether ordering from a mobile or non-mobile device, but did not tend to use social networks as a portal for purchases -- only 0.2 percent of buyers ordered directly from social networks, IBM reported.
Overall, Black Friday online sales were up over 20 percent from last year, with a total average order of $181.22. Home goods sales were up nearly 30 percent over last year, with apparel sales up 17.5 percent. Brick-and-mortar department store sales trailed online sales again, but were still up over 16 percent from last year -- a sign that the economy is indeed improving, albeit slowly.
IBM has broken out tablet sales on Black Friday as a special point of interest, issuing a report called "The iPad Factor" that left no doubt that Apple's tablet is not really feeling the effects of increased competition. Some 88.3 percent of tablets sold on that day were one of the iPad models, followed rather surprisingly by the Barnes & Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, the Amazon Kindle line at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy tablet line at a mere 1.8 percent. Ebay and PayPal reported that its overall mobile transactions were up between 200 and 300 percent on the day, and said that one of its bestselling items was the iPad 2, which hit a peak of 250 sales per hour in the early-morning hours of Black Friday.
The statistics showed that consumers are increasingly using mobile devices for the entire shopping experience, and not just using the devices to browse shopping sites. For the entire year, about 14 percent of consumers use mobile devices to buy items, an increase of four percent from last year. The survey only covered sales from online stores made on Friday, but the percentages may foreshadow the kind of trend US buyers will see as the holiday buying season begins in earnest this week.
The strong interest in iPad models is likely to cause analysts to re-think their already-rosy predictions for Apple's success this quarter. The company appears to have moved rapidly to address initial product shortages in most areas -- a notable exception being the new iMac line -- and the preliminary data would indicate that even some of the best-known rivals are failing to make a significant dent against the company, at least in the area of tablets.