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IBM: Holiday online sales surge 13.9%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Armonk, N.Y. – It was a very happy holiday for online and mobile retailers in 2014. According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark data for the 2014 holiday period (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31), online sales surged, as did mobile sales and traffic.

Online sales were up 13.9% from the same period in 2013. Mobile traffic accounted for 45% of all online traffic for the 2014 holiday season, an increase of 25.5% year-over-year. Mobile sales accounted for 22.6% of all online sales for the 2014 holiday season, an increase of 27.2% year-over-year.

Other interesting findings from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark include:

• Average order value was $119.33, down 8% from 2013, with shoppers purchasing an average of four items per order.

• Smartphones drove 31.2% of total online traffic, nearly two-and-a-half times that of tablets, which accounted for 13.4% of all online traffic. However, tablet sales accounted for 13.4% of online sales, compared to smartphones, which accounted for 9.1% of total online sales, a difference of 47.3%.

• Desktop PC traffic represented 54.8% of all online traffic, and 77.3 % of all online sales. Furthermore, consumers spent more money on their desktops with an average order value of $125.12, compared to their mobile devices at $104.82, a difference of 19.4%.

• Apple iOS users averaged $110.92 per order, compared to $87.26 for Android users, a difference of 27.1%

• Apple iOS traffic accounted for 30.3% of total online traffic, more than double that of Android, which drove 14.3% of all online traffic.

• Apple iOS sales accounted for 17.6% of total online sales, nearly four times that of Android, which drove 4.9% of all online sales.

• Facebook referrals drove an average of $101.38 per order, while Pinterest referrals averaged $105.75 per order.

In addition, in a separate study, according to IBM Security researchers, despite a 50% decline in the number of cyber attacks against U.S. retailers, thieves still managed to steal more than 61 million records from these businesses during 2014. When it comes to the period around the two biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, attackers surprisingly reduced their activity across all industries. Over the period from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5, the number of breaches from 2013 to 2014 dropped by more than 50% for this period.

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