There's no rest for the weary in retail this year, but at least on Christmas Day most of the shopping frenzy was online and not in line. IBM's Smarter Commerce unit, which tracks 500 online stores (but not Amazon, the largest, and probably not Apple's store either) told the AP that Christmas Day online shopping increased by 16.4 percent year over year.
It's not clear if that number represents the number of individual transactions or of unique purchasers, but IBM did say that the dollar amount of online purchases made via mobile devices was up a whopping 172.9 percent over last year. Moreover, IBM exec John Squire reported that almost seven percent of all online purchases on 12/25 originated on a single device: the iPad.
Seven percent of all transactions isn't bad for a platform that hasn't yet celebrated its second birthday, but the iOS slice of mobile e-commerce is a lot wider than that. According to a report released last week by retail insights firm RichRelevance, the overall dollar share of online purchases made from mobile devices has doubled over the past eight months and now stands at 3.74% of sales spending online. Of that chunk of cash, 92% of the December purchase transactions originated on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad (up from 88% in April 2011).
Think about that for a moment. Nine out of every 10 mobile transactions recorded by RichRelevance in December came from an iOS device; since RichRelevance, like IBM, can't see into Amazon or (probably) Apple's sales data, the true ratio could be somewhat lower or higher, but still. Even the average dollar value per order is higher for iOS than for Android ($123 vs. $101 in December), and both mobile platforms walloped the $87 AOV for desktop browser orders. As GigaOm noted, the volume of mobile transactions seems to spike on holidays and weekends, when shoppers are less likely to be sitting at their PCs.
RichRelevance says it analyzed more than 3.4 billion transactions to arrive at its results, including data from 10 out of the 25 largest web retailers. Both Apple and Amazon hold their sales data very close to the chest, but you can bet that both companies are also mining through their records and coming up with similar conclusions -- shopping on mobile devices is growing fast, and iOS is leading the way and/or lapping the field.
Photo by Ramberg Media Images (CC)