Mobile spikes paid search up by double digits during holidays: report

If you weren't shopping with a mobile device in December, you were probably doing it wrong -- at least in the eyes of retailers and search giants.

As if we needed more fuel for this fodder, there is even more data trickling that reinforces how mobile is changing the face of commerce, online and offline, at an expeditious rate.

The latest figures from digital marketing developer Kenshoo point toward remarkable growth for U.S. paid search clicks in particular.

Kenshoo's complete 2013 Global Online Retail Seasonal Shopping Report won't be available until next week, but the international search and social media solutions firm is revealing some of the notable numbers now.

There are a few moving parts here. First, domestic paid search spend dramatically increased this year, starting around Thanksgiving, November 28, at a 65 percent uptick compared to the same time the previous year.

Much like how Adobe noted in a holiday forecast about social media churn rates, analysts attributed this particular increase to "the anticipation that consumers would begin shopping earlier this year" given the shorter time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2013.

While that started to taper off around Green Monday (the new e-commerce term for the second Monday of December), U.S. retailers saw a 23 percent increase, year-over-year, in clicks while only upping their spend by about 16 percent.

This is where mobile comes in, and it comes in strong.

Kenshoo found that more than one of every three paid search clicks in the U.S. stemmed from mobile devices during the 2013 holiday shopping season.

That translates on a numerical level to 36 percent of all U.S. paid search clicks, up 27 percent annually. The way Kenshoo describes it, tablets won the day (or the season) as clicks from these portals accounted for 14.5 percent of the grand total, compared to just eight percent in 2012.

But smartphones still generated more clicks overall with 22 percent of all U.S. paid search clicks, albeit only growing by seven percent from 2012.

Much of this concurs what IBM already published last week , reporting that mobile (both smartphones and tablets) traffic accounted for close to 35 percent of all online traffic, up 40 percent from the same time last year, with mobile sales jumping 46 percent to account for 16.6 percent of all online sales.

But the big takeaway from IBM's fourth quarter retail online index report was really that while smartphones fostered far and away the most traffic on mobile platforms, tablets delivered most prominently for what could be construed as the most important metric: sales.