Christmas shopping via mobile continues to grow

In an annual look at how consumers are shopping in the lead up to Christmas IBM has released benchmark data revealing a rise in the use of mobile devices for researching and buying, with tablets following suit.

Mindi Chahal

The IBM report looks at Monday 26th November, 2012 compared to Monday 28th November, 2011 and analyses raw data from 150 retailers in the UK.

Online sales increased by 18 per cent compared to the same Monday in 2011, the iPad alone accounted for 10.8 per cent of online shopping, an increase of 205 per cent.

When breaking down the data into channels the study shows the number of consumers using a mobile to visit a retailer’s site reached 21.5 per cent, up from 12 per cent in 2011 and those using their mobile to make a purchase increased to 15.7 per cent, up from 9.8 per cent.

These findings come at the same time that brands have been urged to “wake up” and ensure their websites are mobile-ready or face losing billions in sales as new research finds consumer demand for mobile optimised sites is set to rocket next year.

The same suggestion can be applied to tablet versions of brand sites as the iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, reaching 10.8 per cent of online shopping, an increase of 205 per cent over 2011 on the same day, when it was 3.5 per cent.

The IBM study also reveals that shoppers referred from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated 0.22 percent of all online sales, suggesting that social media is least effective in generating online sales and perhaps brands should focus on optimising their mobile and tablet offering in order to capitalise on Christmas shopping traffic.

What’s important to note is that consumers use mobile and tablets in different ways. The study shows an increase in researching and buying, so not all purchases will be made online. For retailers expecting their in-store traffic to slow down, ensuring their mobile site is optimised for those who want to research and check stock is vital, as those who have a bad experience of a retailer’s digital offering could be put off visiting the store.

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