IBM predicts mobile traffic to double during the holidays

Is there any hope that mobile usage can help reduce long lines when shopping on Black Friday and during the rest of the holiday season?

Mobile retail traffic will more than double this holiday season, according to new data from IBM Coremetrics Benchmark.

Specifically, IBM is expecting that "an unprecedented" 15 percent of U.S. consumers will log into a retailer’s website via a mobile device when shopping for the holidays. Furthermore, IBM predicts that all online holiday shopping in November will grow by as much as 12 to 15 percent versus November 2010.

So what is enabling this shift? First, the devices themselves. The iPad will play a huge role because IBM argues that shoppers using Apple's tablet will "lead to more retail purchases more often per visit than other mobile devices," based on a conversion rate of 6.8 percent versus all other mobile devices at 3.6 percent.

The iPhone will also account for 4.0 percent of mobile traffic, but for the first time, IBM believes that Android will also demonstrate nearly the same amount of traffic at 3.5 percent.

Additionally, social media is going to play a larger role than ever. In October, IBM reports that 9.2 percent of consumers that visited a retail site from a social media site made a purchase -- compared to 5.5 percent at the same time last year.

So does this mean that there is any hope that mobile usage can help reduce long lines when shopping on Black Friday and during the rest of the holiday season? Possibly, but only time will really tell on that one.

However, according to a new survey of tablet and smartphone owners from PayPal conducted with marketing research firm Ipsos, many more shoppers are expected to buy holiday gifts on mobile devices this year. So maybe there is a chance that will affect in-store sales.

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