Majority of Thanksgiving online shopping will be on mobile: IBM

IBM analysts projected iOS will drive twice the mobile traffic of Android and -- more importantly -- four times the sales.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Halloween is all but a distant memory as we move full-speed into the holiday shopping season, and once again, more mobile consumption is all anyone can talk about and expect.

According to IBM's latest forecast on Wednesday, more than half (53 percent) of all Thanksgiving Day online shopping will come from a mobile device for the first time ever.

Overall, online sales are expected to jump by at least 15 percent over the five-day period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.

For retailers' IT departments plotting their game plans, the biggest increase in online sales is expected on Cyber Monday, which should grow by 15.8 percent alone. Thanksgiving Day should follow closely at 15.6 percent.

Mobile browsing will account for approximately 48.2 percent over the five-day period, up 23 percent from 2013. Mobile sales should jump by 9.5 percent to account for nearly a quarter (24.4 percent) of all online purchases during this time frame.

Analysts for the tech giant attributed the uptick in mobile shopping — and even online in general — to a number of factors, starting with more digital coupons and higher click-through rates for retailer emails on mobile devices.

Following through on a trend emerging for awhile, browsing and actual purchase rates diverge based on device. IBM predicted that smartphones will lead as far as mobile browsing is concerned, accounting for 29 percent of all online traffic versus 15 percent on tablets.

But that extra visual real estate must make a huge difference for consumers as IBM said tablets will feed twice as many mobile purchases than smartphones.

Looking closer at which mobile platforms could reap the most rewards, IBM analysts projected Apple's iOS will drive twice the amount of mobile traffic than Google's Android and — more importantly — four times the sales.

Analysts didn't offer much to defend its higher expectations for iOS over Android, and there was no mention in any way of a battle pitting Apple Pay against Google Wallet. Instead, analysts only highlighted Apple's "dominance in mobile shopping experiences."

IBM, which routinely publishes forecasts and same-day results throughout the holiday shopping season, based its data on 370 performance indicators as well as "hundreds of terabytes" of real-time shopping data across participating US websites.

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