A couple of weeks ago I called the tablet computer the gift that keeps on giving, and some Black Friday numbers out from I.B.M. confirm just how important the tablet is becoming for retailers.
Highlights of an I.B.M. Digital Analytics Benchmark include some familiar figures about the growth in online shopping: Black Friday sales online were up 20.7 percent over last year. Sales on mobile devices, I.B.M. says, accounted for 16.3 percent of online sales even though they’ve only been part of the shopping equation for a relatively short time. Tablets have only been a factor for a few years, but according to I.B.M., on Black Friday they were behind 41.4 percent of sales made on mobile devices.
Predictably, Apple’s iPad dominates with 88.3 percent of tablet sales. Nook came in with 3.1 percent, Kindle, 2.4 and the Galaxy tablet 1.8. Others had 4.4 percent. In a report titled “The iPad Factor,” I.B.M. said, “The [Apple] iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping. This was followed by iPhone at 8.7 percent and [Google] Android 5.5 percent.”
That’s from an All Things D story that said, “And, over at eBay and its PayPal unit — which spewed out all kinds of data on mobile transactions that showed volume was between two and three times greater, mostly on Apple devices — the company noted that one of its bestselling items on Black Friday was the iPad 2, selling 250 per hour from 12 am to 8 am PT.”
Again, the tablet really is the gift that keeps on giving. More tablets in more hands opens up a potentially vital channel for retailers. Notre Dame business professor Tonya Bradford offered this for an InformationWeek report: “To remain relevant, retailers must find opportunities to participate in holiday rituals in ways that aid consumers’ attainment of the holidays they imagine — enjoying time with family and shopping when convenient. Technology provides more opportunities for retailers to create these experiences for consumers through their mobile computing devices.”
In that story Jay Henderson, strategy Director for IBM Smarter Commerce, summed up the holiday weekend this way: “This year’s holiday shopper was hungry for great deals and retailers didn’t disappoint, rolling out compelling offers which consumers gobbled up on Thanksgiving straight through Black Friday. The big winners were chief marketing officers who used technology to deliver customer experiences that not only connected shoppers with personalized deals but did so at the right touchpoint and at precisely the right time and place, whether on their couch or the store floor.”
I would agree with all that, though I would argue that the big winners have been and will continue to be consumers.
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