According to analytics findings from IBM, U.S. shoppers once again took advantage of early promotions this holiday season, driving a 17.4 percent increase in online sales Thanksgiving Day. This increase set the stage for 20.7 percent growth on Black Friday. The biggest surge came from mobile consumers, with sales reaching 16.3 percent, led by the iPad. 

As part of IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark revealed the following trends:

  • Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales on Thanksgiving grew by 17.4 percent followed by Black Friday where sales increased 20.7 percent over last year. 
  • Mobile Shopping: Mobile purchases soared with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2011.    
  • The iPad Factor: The iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping. This was followed by iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android 5.5 percent. The iPad dominated tablet traffic at 88.3 percent followed by the Barnes and Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent. 
  • Multiscreen Shopping: Consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best bargains. Overall 58 percent of consumers used smartphones compared to 41 percent who used tablets to surf for bargains on Black Friday. 
  • The Savvy shopper: While consumers spent more overall, they shopped with greater frequency to take advantage of retailer deals and free shipping. This led to a drop in average order value by 4.7 percent to $181.22. In addition, the average number of items per order decreased 12 percent to 5.6.   
  • Social Media Sentiment Index: Shoppers expressed positive consumer sentiment on promotions, shipping and convenience as well as the retailers themselves at a three to one ratio. 
  • Social Sales: Shoppers referred from Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated .34 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, a decrease of more than 35 percent from 2011. 

 "This year's holiday shopper was hungry for great deals and retailers didn't disappoint, rolling out compelling offers which consumers gobbled up on Thanksgiving straight through Black Friday," said Jay Henderson, strategy director, IBM smarter commerce. "The big winners were chief marketing officers who used technology to deliver customer experiences that not only connected shoppers with personalized deals but did so at the right touchpoint and at precisely the right time and place, whether on their couch or the store floor."

Read more about consumer behavior.

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