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E-retail Christmas trends defined

By Retail Technology | Thursday February 6 2014

IBM uses benchmark data to identify key seasonal shopping days and the growing domination of mobile devices as part of the online customer shopping journey

Seasonal shopping peaks and the ascendancy of mobile and online over the High Street influenced retail end-of-year performances, according to a new IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report published this week.

The UK Online Retail Christmas Shopping Trends report highlighted the introduction of Black Friday on 29 November 2013 and the emergence of Cyber Monday in the UK on 2 December 2013, driven by retailers providing online discounts, as the two biggest online shopping days of the season. 

Online sales growth established in the run up to Christmas continued strongly on Boxing Day with an increase of more than 40% over 2012. But around Christmas and Boxing Day almost half of online sales came via a mobile device – so much so that the report also found mobile traffic to retail websites overtook traffic from PCs for the first time ever.

Mobile growth continues apace

Mobile traffic accounted for 47.3% of all online traffic for November and December combined, growing by nearly 60% over the same period in 2012. Similarly, sales from mobile devices reached 35.7% of all online sales for the same period, nearly doubling over 2012. Mobile as a percentage of all online traffic and sales reached unprecedented levels on Christmas Day, when mobile percentage of traffic soared to 58.9% and mobile percentage of sales reached 46.7%.

IBM’s data analysis also found smartphones were used more prevalently for browsing than tablets. However, it added that tablets were the clear “device of choice” for making purchases. From an operating systems point of view, Apple iOS devices generated higher percentage of sales and traffic than Google Android devices. However, Android and iOS were comparable in other metrics related to shopping behaviour, such as average session length, average page views per session and average order value.

The report stated in summary: “Now more than ever, UK retailers need to understand how mobile factors into the consumer shopping experience, both instore and online. Maximising the mobile experience at the device level will be critical to ongoing retailer success.”

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