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Mobile web traffic surpasses desktop on Thanksgiving

December 5, 2014

In November IBM launched an online portal called IBM ExperienceOne Benchmark Live. It allows you to look at US online sales trends and compare mobile vs desktop traffic, online sales, abandoned carts and more. Its uses real-time data from hundreds of US retail websites and lets you look at key
moments in time such as black friday and cyber monday. Some of the stats are interesting if not predictable.

 thanksgiving2

For the first time on Thanksgiving, online traffic from mobile (52.11%) was higher than that from desktop (47.62%). Not too much of a surprise as almost everyone in the US is on holiday so not using their work computer for shopping. US Retail online sales were up 14.28% on the previous year and mobile sales increased from 25.69% in 2013 to 32.33%. A clear indicator that shopper are becoming more acustomed to purchasing on a mobile device.

Interestingly if you look at the mobile traffic, 36.35% is via smartphone and 15.42% on a tablet. However, if you look at online sales, tablets accounted for 17.86% and smartphones only 14.38%. So there is more traffic from smartphones but less sales. At the same time, shopping cart abandonment spiked at 76% on thanksgiving, the highest it had been all month.

What does this tell us ? Maybe that people still aren't that confident completing purchases on a smartphone but are happy to browse. Or that the customer journey to purchase on a  smartphone isn't simple enough for shoppers to complete the transaction ? Or do some people just see the smartphone as a browsing tool and will never purchase from it no mater how easy ? We don't have enough data available to know the exact reasons but I expect it is a combination of all of the above.

Posted by Simon Hill
Automation, General, Topical email


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