IBM: Mobile commerce up 13%, but supply chain concerns remain

ARMONK, N.Y. — Mobile commerce increased more than 13% in the first quarter of 2012, according to IBM's first retail economic indicator, a cloud-based analytics report, which examines the state of the online retail sector.

The increase in mobile commerce sales, along with improved consumer attitudes toward the digital buying experience, indicate that consumers will be shopping more with their smartphones and other mobile devices in the near future.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Total online sales increased 6.3% from February to March 2012.

  • Shoppers referred from social networks generated 1.1% of all online traffic in Q1.

  • Mobile traffic was responsible for initiating 17.1% of all online sessions in Q1.

  • Apple's iPhone was the number one driver of mobile devic retail traffic at 6.5% in Q1.

Among specific retail categories' online performance, home goods saw the biggest increase at 29.3% for the quarter, followed by health and beauty at 28.8%, department stores at 20.4%, apparel stores at 14.9%, jewelry stores at 11.3% and office supply/electronics at 6.6%.

While consumers believed the online buying experience has improved, there is still negative sentiment around product availability.

"Over the first quarter, the empowered consumer continued to demonstrate the momentum of the online channel and specifically mobile commerce, which has established itself as a legitimate channel for shopping,” said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM industry solutions. “Moving ahead we will help retailers synchronize the demand and supply chains to address issues of product availability and connect to the mobile buyer."


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