IBM: Mobile drives growth in August online sales

Armonk, N.Y.  -- Online U.S. retail sales for August 2014 were up more than 11% as compared to the same period the prior year. According to new IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark data, mobile traffic accounted for 41.5% of all online traffic, up 34% compared to the same period the previous year.

Mobile sales saw strong growth, up nearly 39%, reaching 7.8% of all online sales. Smartphones drove 27% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 13.8%, making the smartphone the browsing device of choice. When it comes to making the sale, tablets drove 11.5% of all online sales while smartphones accounted for nearly half of that at 6.2%. Tablet users also averaged $110.93 per order, more than smartphone users, who averaged $95.65 per order.

As a percentage of total online sales, iOS was more than four-times higher than Android, driving 14.2% compared to 3.5% for Android. On average, iOS users spent $108.81 per order compared to $77.66 for Android users, a difference of 40%. iOS also led as a component of overall traffic with 27.4% compared to 13.7% for Android.

Looking at socially influenced sales, IBM found that Shoppers referred from Facebook averaged $113.20 per order, compared to Pinterest referrals, which drove $142.76 per order. However, Facebook referrals converted sales at a rate more than three times that of Pinterest referrals, perhaps indicating stronger confidence in network recommendations.

Supporting these overall trends, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark also reported trends across three of the hottest retail categories for back-to-school purchases. With shoppers stocking up on new fall clothing and back-to-school supplies, the department stores, office supply and electronics and apparel categories all saw boosts in sales in August:

1. Department Stores: August total online sales grew by more than 16% from the same period last year, with mobile sales growing by 24% year-over-year.

2. Office Supply/Electronics: August total online sales grew by more than 3% from the same period the prior year, with mobile sales growing by nearly 32%.

3. Apparel: August total online sales grew by more than 17% from the same period the previous year, with mobile sales growing by 31% year-over-year.

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