Ho-Ho-Mobile: Record Number of Consumers Expected to Shop By Phone This Holiday

Forget about calling it “Cyber Monday.” The big digital shopping day of the holiday season might be more appropriately called “Mobile Monday.”

The Monday after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest online shopping days of the year as everyone returns to work and gets online.

But according to a study conducted by IBM, which analyzed data from more than 500 leading U.S. retailers, mobile is playing a larger role in consumers’ shopping habits, especially around the holidays.

The study found that traffic to retail sites from mobile devices is expected to more than double this month from last season, reaching 15 percent of all visits to retail sites. Last year on Cyber Monday, mobile visits totaled only 3.9 percent.

Of course, mobile is benefiting from the overall trend toward shopping online instead of shopping at the mall. A comScore report released earlier this week found that e-commerce spending was up 13 percent in the third quarter, compared to the same quarter a year earlier, to $36.3 billion.

But in particular, the IBM study says it’s also increasing because of smartphone and iPad penetration. Last month, iPad conversion rates reached 6.8 percent compared to the 3.6 percent conversion rate found for all mobile devices as a category.

This year, the statistics will be supported even more by more iPad sales. A year ago, the iPad was only eight months old. Separately, next week Amazon will be shipping its own tablet, the Kindle Fire, to consumers. If there’s a tablet that’s good for shopping, I’d bet Amazon would make it.

Other findings from the IBM study:

  • In October, 10.7 percent of people who logged on to a retailer’s site used a mobile device, up from the 4.2 percent recorded in the same month in 2010.
  • Additionally, mobile sales are growing, reaching a high of 9.6 percent in October 2011, up from 3.4 percent in October 2010.
  • Social commerce is not seeing as much growth. Facebook accounted for 77 percent of all traffic from social sites, but only 9.2 percent of consumers who visited a retailer site from a social site made a purchase.

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