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IBM: Mobile devices accounted for 14.3% of Black Friday online retail traffic

BY Marianne Wilson

Armonk, N.Y. — U.S. shoppers took advantage of early sales this holiday driving a 39.3% increase in online Thanksgiving day spending while setting the stage for 24.3% online growth on Black Friday compared with the same period last year, according to the fourth annual IBM Coremetrics Black Friday Benchmark study, which tracks more than a million transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers nationwide.

Black Friday witnessed the arrival of the mobile deal seeker, IBM reported, as mobile traffic increased to 14.3% on Black Friday 2011 compared with 5.6% in 2010. Sales on mobile devices surged to 9.8% over year.

In other IBM findings:

  • Mobile shopping was led by Apple, with the iPhone and iPad ranking one and two for consumers shopping on mobile devices (5.4% and 4.8% respectively). Android came in third at 4.1%. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 10.2% of all online retail traffic on Black Friday.
  • Mobile shoppers demonstrated a laser focus that surpassed that of other online shoppers with a 41.3% bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping rates of 33.1%.
  • Shoppers referred from Social Networks generated 0.535 of all online sales on Black Friday. Facebook led the pack, accounting for 75% of all traffic from social networks.

In online retail categories, department stores sales were up 59.0% from this time last year. Home goods reported a 48.8% increase in sales from Black Friday 2010.

Apparel sales were also strong this holiday with Black Friday numbers showing an increase of 47.2% over 2010. Health and Beauty sales were strong as consumers showed a desire to pamper themselves this year. On Black Friday, online sales were up 34.2% year over year.

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Online spending surges on Black Friday

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — E-commerce spending jumped 26% on Black Friday, according to comscore.

Black Friday web sales totaled $816 million, up from $648 million last year, comScore reported.

“With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels," said Gian Fulgoni, chairman, comScore.

Fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, up 35% over last year, comScore said. Each of the top five retail sites reported double-digit gains in visitors, in percentage terms, led by top retail site Amazon. Walmart ranked second, followed by Best Buy, Target and Apple.

The report by comScore came two days after IBM Corp.’s Coremetrics unit, reported a smaller, 20% online spending gain for Black Friday.

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Thanksgiving weekend sales hit record high

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Retail sales broke records during the Thanksgiving weekend, climbing 16%, according to a survey by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation. Shoppers spent $52.4 billion, up from $45 billion last year.

A record 225 million shoppers visited stores and malls over the Black Friday weekend, up from 212 million last year. Shoppers on average spent $398.62, up from $365.34 last year, the NRF said.

Apparel and electronic sales were particularly strong, according to the NRF, as shoppers flocked to stores for early doorbuster deals.

“It’s a good, encouraging sign the consumer is out there despite all the distractions,” said Marshal Cohen, an analyst at NPD Group, in a Bloomberg report. “We’ll have an OK holiday.

However, Cohen and some analysts warned that the strong Thanksgiving holiday may simply have pulled sales forward from December.

Many retailers opened earlier than ever this year, with Macy’s, Target and Best Buy among the retailers opening at midnight. Given the strong sales and crowds the stores attracted, industry experts predicted the midnight start on Black Friday will become increasingly commonplace. The midnight opening was especially popular with teenagers and young adults.

“Now that we’re open at midnight, we’re getting an entirely different customer," Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren told Reuters, speaking of night owl shoppers under age 30.

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