IBM Predicts Record Mobile Holiday Shopping
November 07, 2014

Payal Chakravarty
IBM

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IBM projects another strong shopping season with online sales projected to increase 15 percent over the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday - part of IBM's predictions for the 2014 holiday shopping season based on billions of online and in-store transactions analyzed by the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark and IBM Quarterly Retail Forecast.

The biggest increase in online sales is expected on Cyber Monday, predicted to grow 15.8 percent, followed closely by Thanksgiving with a projected increase of 15.6 percent.

Still widely considered the busiest day for in-store shopping, Black Friday online sales are expected to grow 13 percent as consumers find the best deals with their fingers as well as their feet.

A primary driver of online growth, mobile browsing is expected to account for 48.2 percent of all online traffic over the five-day period, an increase of 23 percent over last year.

Mobile sales are also expected to rise, accounting for 24.4 percent of all online sales, up 9.5 percent year-over-year.

Apple’s dominance in mobile shopping experiences is also expected to continue with iOS device traffic projected to double that of Android devices, and sales expected to quadruple.

Today’s predictions are based on historical and real-time trend data analyzed across hundreds of U.S. retail websites.

Other key predictions for this year’s U.S. holiday shopping season include:

■ Mobile is the New Thanksgiving Tradition: For the first time ever, IBM predicts more than half of all online shopping on Thanksgiving, roughly 53 percent, will come from a mobile device, up 23 percent year-over-year. Mobile sales are also expected to grow, reaching 28 percent of all Thanksgiving online sales, an increase of more than 9 percent over 2013. (1)

■ More Digital Coupons, Greater Savings for Consumers: As consumers become more comfortable with digital couponing, IBM predicts shoppers will save dollars this holiday season as they cash in on online deals. Consumers will spend on average $123.28 per online order over the five-day holiday period, a decrease of 2.9 percent over 2013. At the same time, the average number of items included in those purchases will be 4.4 items per order, an increase of 17 percent year-over-year. (1)

■ Retailers Give the Gift of Less Spam: IBM predicts click-through rates for emails sent during the five-day shopping period will be 10 percent higher than the same period last year, thanks to data-driven insight which allows marketers to reduce the amount of unwanted email and instead, deliver personalized and relevant promotions. The company also estimates that 35 percent of all click-throughs will happen on a mobile device. The highest volume of emails is expected on Cyber Monday. (2)

■ Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy: Smartphones will continue to lead in mobile browsing over the five-day shopping period, accounting for 29 percent of all online traffic versus 15 percent for tablets. However, IBM predicts tablets will account for twice as many mobile purchases than smartphones thanks to the larger screen size. (1)

Data Sources

(1) Delivered through IBM ExperienceOne, IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark analyzes hundreds of terabytes of real-time shopping across participating US websites. The resulting insight – based on 370 performance indicators – helps retailers benchmark themselves against industry peers while driving more targeted customer engagements.

(2) Denotes Silverpop-specific data not included in the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report. Silverpop, an IBM Company, is a cloud-based digital marketing provider that offers email marketing and lead management solutions. The research examined messages sent by Silverpop's global client base, combining data from a variety of brands and message types. Messages include promotional emails, content-based newsletters, notifications and transactional emails.

Payal Chakravarty is Senior Product Manager for IBM Application Performance Management.

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