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IBM: Online sales up 14.5% over Thanksgiving weekend

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Overall online sales from Thanksgiving through Sunday were up 14.5% in 2013 over the same period last year, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Mobile traffic accounted for 40.9% of all online traffic, up more than 35% percent compared to the same period last year. Mobile sales remained strong, reaching 23.2% of all online sales, up 43.7% year-over-year.

In other findings:

  • Smartphones drove 25% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 15.2%, making it the browsing device of choice. When it comes to making the sale, tablets drove 15.7% of all online sales, more than double that of smartphones, which accounted for 7.4%.
  • Tablet users averaged $127.73 per order, versus smartphone users, who averaged $111.43 per order.
  • Shoppers referred from Facebook averaged $72.04 per order, versus Pinterest referrals, which drove $95.20 per order. However, Facebook referrals converted sales more than three times the rate of Pinterest referrals, perhaps indicating stronger confidence in network recommendations.

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ShopperTrak: Store traffic up 2.8% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — Shoppers visited more stores and spent more money across the days of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday (Nov. 28 and 29) than they did last year, according to ShopperTrak.

When compared to Thanksgiving and Black Friday last year, brick-and-mortar shopper traffic increased 2.8%, to more than 1.07 billion store visits. Retail sales also increased by 2.3%, as shoppers spent an estimated total of $12.3 billion across the two days.

But the numbers tell a very different story when viewing only data for Black Friday (Nov. 29). When compared to Black Friday last year, brick-and-mortar shopper traffic fell 11.4% and retail sales also decreased by 13.2%.

“The Black Friday shopping experience is changing with more shoppers choosing to go out on Thanksgiving Day,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “Consumers increasingly research products online before entering stores. When they arrive, customers know exactly what they want to buy – retailers now need to make their experience a satisfying one.”

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Report: Amazon plans drone-based delivery

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Amazon.com hopes to someday deliver packages to its customers using unmanned drone aircraft.

According to numerous media reports, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said during an interview on the TV news program 60 Minutes aired Dec.1 that the company is currently testing the use of drones to pick up customer orders in buckets from fulfillment centers to enable delivery within 30 minutes of a customer executing an online transaction.

Bezos reportedly hopes the drone delivery service, which will be called Prime Air, will be operational within four years. However, current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations prohibit drone usage except by military, law enforcement and private hobbyists. Congress did order the FAA to develop guidelines for private commercial drone usage in 2012, and the FAA has said it plans to have those regulations in place by 2015.

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