IBM: M-commerce fuels strong online sales in July and August

Armonk, N.Y. – Back-to-school sales may have been stronger than anticipated this year, judging by online sales performance in July and August. According to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, online sales saw substantial gains from July through the third week in August, fueled by double-digit growth in mobile buying.

Specific findings for online sales activity in each month include:


  • The month of July saw a 15% increase in online sales, 8% increase in average order value and more than 9% growth in average per order. Early back-to-school bargains helped drive this activity.
  • Department stores recorded a 33% year-over-year increase in online sales during July, with a 40% boost in mobile sales.
  • Mobile sales were up 38% for the entire month of July compared to 2012. Mobile percentage of sales was up across the board, reaching almost 22% in July, a 37.6% increase from the previous year.
  • Mobile percentage of sales peaked the second week in July, ahead of Christmas in July sales, when it reached 23.2%, an increase of 55% from the same period in 2012. Mobile percentage of site traffic also peaked that same week at 30.9%, a 52% increase from the same period in 2012. The iPhone and iPad together were the two most popular devices for mobile shopping, with Android devices in third.


  • Online sales and average order value were up the first three weeks in August.
  • Consumers bought laptops and school supplies earlier than ever this year, with office supply/electronics online sales peaking the second week of August, up more than 35% from the same period last year. Improved online tablet experiences helped the iPad to drive 4.47% of online traffic, an increase of 71.9% from the same period in 2012.
  • The third week in August saw an average order value of $212.40, an increase of 6.5% resulting from big-box retailers that employed back-to-school Cyber Monday sales on Aug. 12. Online retail sales also saw a boost, up 13% from the same period in 2012.

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