IBM: Thanksgiving, Black Friday Generate Online Sales Surge

Various studies of Thanksgiving weekend sales continue to come in, and IBM has released survey results that are relatively cheerful. The company 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.

On Thanksgiving Day, online traffic from mobile devices outpaced that from traditional PCs for the first time, IBM stated. Browsing on smartphones and tablets accounting for 52.1% of all online traffic. Overall Thanksgiving online sales were up 14.3% compared to 2013, according to the company.

The mobile momentum carried into Black Friday, which saw a surge in both online and mobile shopping as consumers took devices into stores to comparison shop, IBM maintained. Black Friday online sales were up 9.5% year-over-year with mobile devices accounting for a quarter of all online purchases. New York City retained its title as the top market for Black Friday online shopping in the United States.

Smartphones drove 34.7% of all Black Friday online traffic, IBM noted, more than double that of tablets, which accounted for 14.6% of traffic.  Yet, tablets drove 16% of online sales compared to 11.8% for smartphones, a difference of 35.5%.  Tablet users also averaged $126.50 per order compared to $107.55 for smartphone users, a difference of 17.6%.  

Other trends identified by IBM include:

  • Thanksgiving Day online sales increased 14.3% over 2013, with Black Friday movement up 9.5% versus the day last year.
  • Average order value on Thanksgiving was $125.25, slipping 1.8% from 2013.
  • Black Friday average order value was $129.37, down 4.4% from the day last year. Black Friday 2014 online sales were 63.5% higher than those on Thanksgiving Day, down from 2013, when the day to day gain rang in at 70% higher, as Thanksgiving online sales eat into Black Friday shopping.

As for retail channels, IBM declared, Black Friday online sales at department stores grew by 22.9% year over year with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 25.7%. Average order value was $143.16, down 2.5% versus last year. Black Friday online sales at health and beauty specialists grew by 56.9% over 2013 with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 31.8%. Average order value was $72.78, a gain of 9.8% year-over-year. Black Friday online sales at home goods specialists advanced 43.2% over 2013 with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 3.8%. Average order value was $238.46, growing 6.8% year-over-year. Black Friday online sales increased 22.6% at apparel retailers versus 2013 with mobile percentage of sales gaining 25.2%. Average order value was $114.96, slipping 6.8% versus last year’s figure, IBM related.