Although Cyber Monday is well under way, analysts are still talking about Black Friday results. IBM has issued a report called Black Friday 2012 that gets granular about consumer electronics, Internet and mobile shopping.
According to Big Blue's research, 2012 marked a banner year for Black Friday on a number of fronts. Mobile traffic grew by more than 67 percent, for example, and Thanksgiving turned out to be a huge shopping day for consumers as they responded to retailers' early promotions.
"It really is more like Black Week. Much of the sales activity started well before Black Friday. A lot of the stores started pushing people in Thursday evening and some of the best deals were long gone by Friday morning," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "We have a seven-day window when brick-and-mortar and online retailers pound on you with deals that now starts to spike at the end of Thanksgiving Day and continues through the weekend."
Multi-Screen Shopping Rises
The IBM report indicates online sales on Thanksgiving grew by 17.4 percent, followed by Black Friday where sales increased 20.7 percent over last year. Mobile purchases soared, with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent of the total, up from 9.8 percent in 2011.
The long-prophesied rise of multi-screen shopping manifested early in this holiday retail season. According to IBM, consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best bargains. Of the consumers using mobile devices, 58 percent used smartphones, compared with 41 percent who used tablets to surf for bargains on Black Friday.
Shoppers are demonstrating more savvy in their bargain hunting. While consumers spent more overall, IBM reports they shopped with greater frequency to take advantage of retailer deals and free shipping. That, Big Blue reported, led to a drop in average order value by 4.7 percent to $181.22. What's more, the average number of items per order decreased 12 percent to 5.6.
The iPad Factor
The iPad is making its mark on holiday shopping, as is social media. In fact, the iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smart phone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping, according to IBM. The iPad was followed by the iPhone at 8.7 percent, and Android devices at 5.5 percent.
IBM reports that the iPad dominated tablet traffic at 88.3 percent, followed by the Barnes & Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.
Shoppers referred from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated 34 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, a decrease of more than 35 percent from 2011, according to IBM. Finally, shoppers expressed positive consumer sentiment on promotions, shipping and convenience as well as the retailers themselves at a 3 to 1 ratio.