By Chuck Martin
For any lingering doubts about how big an impact mobile had on holiday shopping, the last bits of year-end data are trickling in.
Mobile traffic accounted for more than a third of all online traffic for the fourth quarter, up 40% over the same quarter last year, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.
IBM has been tracking and measuring millions of transactions from some 800 retail sites nationally throughout the holiday shopping period and has been consistently finding mobile playing an increasing role over last year.
Mobile sales accounted for 17% of all online sales, an increase of more than 46% over last year with overall online sales up 10%.
Consistent with other studies, more actual transactions happened on tablets than smartphones with tablet sales at 12% of online sales and smartphones at 5%.
Perhaps a more holistic way to look at the impact of mobile is through the entire shopping process of the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle. For example, while transactions by tablets were higher, browsing or searching by tablets was lower, with smartphone browsing accounting for 21% of all online traffic compared to tablet browsing at 13%.
Smartphone and tablet owners also are spending a fair chunk of change through their devices. While individual order spending by tablet was higher with an average order size of $118 per order compared to smartphones at $105, both averaged over $100.
However, browsing and purchasing both are part of the shopping process. Even if a consumer purchased on a PC, the influence of mobile on that actual purchase is becoming significantly more substantial.
Merchants of different product categories also should be aware of the influence of mobile on sales. Based on the IBM study, mobile sales at department store sites grew 50% over last year and health and beauty product sales were up 82%.
Mobile sales of apparel grew 55% over last year and home goods sales grew 38%.
We’re now in a new year for the continuing growth of commerce by mobile device and there’s no turning back.