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Thanksgiving Sets Historic Milestone as Mobile Drives More Than Half of All Shopping Traffic, Reports IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark

• Thanksgiving Online Sales Up 14.3 Percent, Mobile Sales Up 25.4 percent
• Black Friday Online Sales Up 9.5 Percent, Mobile Sales Up 28.2 percent
• New York City Claims Top Spot among U.S. Cities for Online Shopping

Armonk, NY - 29 Nov 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today reported record online and mobile shopping during Thanksgiving and Black Friday based on consumer transaction data analyzed in real-time by the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.  The data-driven insight gives retailers and marketers more than 370 performance indicators to benchmark themselves against industry peers to drive more targeted customer engagements. 


For the first time, online traffic from mobile devices outpaced traditional PCs on Thanksgiving Day.  As IBM predicted within one percent of accuracy, Thanksgiving Day reached a new mobile tipping point with browsing on smartphones and tablets accounting for 52.1 percent of all online traffic.  Overall Thanksgiving online sales were up 14.3 percent compared to 2013.  

The mobile momentum carried into Black Friday, which saw a surge in both online and mobile shopping as consumers brought their devices into the store to comparison shop.  Overall Black Friday online sales were up 9.5 percent year-over-year with mobile devices accounting for one-in-four of all online purchases. New York City also retained its title as the top U.S. city for Black Friday online shopping.

“Mobile has become the new Thanksgiving tradition as consumers find the best deals with their fingers as well as their feet," said Jay Henderson, Director, IBM Smarter Commerce. “We saw retailers harness the power of data to engage shoppers, identifying the unique preferences of their customers while quickly capitalizing on online, mobile or in-store trends as they emerged.”

The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark is delivered to clients through the company’s Smarter Commerce initiative, which combines innovation from $3.5 billion invested to develop the industry’s leading customer engagement platform with expertise working with 8,000 leading global brands and 35,000 commerce engagements.                                                                                                           

The company released the following trends as of 12:00 a.m. PST this morning, at the official close of the two-day shopping period: 

  • Historic Mobile Milestone Spurs Online Shopping:  Thanksgiving Day mobile traffic accounted for 52.1 percent of all online traffic – the first time mobile devices have outpaced their PC counterparts for online browsing. Black Friday mobile traffic reached 49.6 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 25 percent over last year.  Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9 percent of total online sales, up 28.2 percent over 2013.
  • Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy:  As the new digital shopping companion for many consumers, smartphones drove 34.7 percent of all Black Friday online traffic, more than double that of tablets, which accounted for 14.6 percent of all traffic.  Yet, when it comes to mobile sales, tablets continue to win the shopping war – driving 16 percent of online sales compared to 11.8 percent for smartphones, a difference of 35.5 percent.  Tablet users also averaged $126.50 per order compared to $107.55 for smartphone users, a difference of 17.6 percent.   
  • Thanksgiving Eats Into Black Friday Sales: Thanksgiving Day online sales increased 14.3 percent over 2013, with Black Friday up 9.5 percent year-over-year.  Average order value on Thanksgiving was $125.25, down 1.8 percent over 2013; Black Friday was $129.37, down 4.4 percent.  This trend may indicate that shoppers are becoming more comfortable and digitally savvy in how they use online coupons and rebates to secure the best bargains.  Black Friday online sales were 63.5 percent higher than Thanksgiving Day.  This is a decrease from 2013, however, when it was 70 percent higher as Thanksgiving online sales continue to eat into Black Friday shopping.
  • Top Five U.S. Cities for Online Shopping:  New York City claimed the top spot for Black Friday online shopping followed by Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL. New York City shoppers spent on average $121.91 per order on Black Friday.
  • iOS vs. Android:  iOS once again led the way in mobile shopping this holiday season, outpacing Android across three key metrics on Black Friday:

                o Average Order Value:  iOS users averaged $121.86 per order compared to $98.07 for Android users, a difference 24.3 percent.

                o Online Traffic:  iOS traffic accounted for 34.2 percent of total online traffic, more than double that of Android, which drove 15 percent of all online traffic.

                o Online Sales:  iOS sales accounted for 21.9 percent of total online sales, nearly quadruple that of Android, which drove 5.8 percent of all online sales. 

  • The Desktop is Not Dead: When consumers did choose to use their PC or desktop, they spent more with an average order value of $135.33 compared to $116.02 for mobile shoppers, a difference of 16.6 percent.
  • Social Influence – Facebook vs. Pinterest:  As marketers continue to rely on social channels to drive brand loyalty and sales, IBM analyzed trends across two leading sites on Black Friday – Facebook and Pinterest.  Facebook referrals drove an average of $109.94 per order compared to $100.24 for Pinterest, a difference of nearly 10 percent.  Facebook referrals converted online sales at more than twice the rate of Pinterest.  
  • Less Frequent, More Targeted Email Promos*:  Retailers sent an average of 5.3 emails on Black Friday 2014, decreasing more than 11 percent over the same period in 2013, as retail marketers continue to send more targeted -- and less frequent -- messages to shoppers. Open and click-through rates – when someone opens an email and clicks at least one link – were 12.9 percent and 2.4 percent, on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day, compared to 15.4 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, last year.

The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark also reported real-time trends across four of the hottest retail categories this holiday season: 

1.   Department Stores:  Black Friday online sales grew by 22.9 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 25.7 percent. Average order value was $143.16, a decrease of 2.5 percent year-over-year.

2.   Health and Beauty:  Black Friday online sales grew by 56.9 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 31.8 percent. Average order value was $72.78, an increase of 9.8 percent year-over-year.

3.   Home Goods:  Black Friday online sales grew by 43.2 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 3.8 percent. Average order value was $238.46, an increase of 6.8 percent year-over-year.

4.   Apparel:  Black Friday online sales grew by 22.6 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 25.2 percent. Average order value was $114.96, a decrease of 6.8 percent year-over-year.                                                                                                                                   

To access full reports and real-time updates on holiday shopping trends, check out the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Hub and new self-service app at  For more information on how IBM’s real-time analytics delivered through the cloud can improve end-to-end customer engagement, visit

To join the conversation, follow hashtag #smartercommerce on Twitter.

Additional benchmark videos, infographics and FAQs are available:

·    IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Video, IBM Black Friday InfoGraphic and the full 2014 IBM Black Friday Benchmark Report:\benchmark

·    Press FAQ

* Denotes Silverpop-specific data not included in the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report. Silverpop, an IBM Company, is a cloud-based digital marketing provider that offers email marketing and lead management solutions. The research examined messages sent by Silverpop's global client base, combining data from a variety of brands and message types. Messages include promotional emails, content-based newsletters, notifications and transactional emails.

Holiday Online Retail Unwrapped 2014

Contact(s) information

Amanda Carl
IBM Global Communications
1 (570) 236-4032

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