Tablets, Facebook beat smartphones, Pinterest in online holiday sales

Online sales
An shipping facility.
(Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg)

Online sales swelled 10.3% this holiday season compared with the same period in 2012, with massive surges in mobile use, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

During the fourth quarter, mobile traffic made up nearly 35% of all online visits, up 40% from last year, according to IBM. Nearly 17% of digital sales originated from mobile devices, a 46% upswing year over year.

Major shopping days such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday all enjoyed record online sales, as shoppers were lured by increasingly attractive Internet-exclusive promotions and free shipping deals.

On Christmas Day alone, online sales surged 16.5% from the same holiday last year.


Online sales from October through the end of the year boomed 62.8% at department stores and 46.4% at home goods retailers compared with the same time frame in 2012, according to IBM. The apparel industry saw a 10.2% online uptick, and health and beauty merchants watched sales rise 14.7%.

Traffic to retailers from smartphones made up 21.3% of all online visits -- double tablets’ 12.8% share. But when it came to sales, orders from tablets constituted 11.5% of the total online pie, compared with 5% from smartphones.

Shoppers using tablets spent an average of $118.09 per order, according to IBM. Those on smartphones shelled out $104.72 per order.

The per-order amount from shoppers referred to retailers by Pinterest was $109.93 -- outpacing the $60.48 amount from consumers following a trail from Facebook.


But Facebook managed to successfully convert visits into sales 3.5 times more often than Pinterest did, according to IBM.

The National Retail Federation is projecting an online sales increase of 13% to 15% during the holidays, resulting in as much as $82 billion in revenue during November and December.

Last year, e-commerce sales during the October to December period rose 15.7%, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.


Christmas delivery woes stack up for online merchants

Holiday sales rise 2.3%, online Christmas spending up 16.5%

Target says hackers took encrypted PIN data but can’t crack it

Get our weekly Business newsletter

A look back, and ahead, at the latest California business news.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.