IBM: Christmas Shoppers Going Mobile

IBM says the post-PC era is here as many online Christmas shoppers use mobile devices

IBM predicts that during this year’s hot Christmas holiday season, an unprecedented 15 percent of people in the United States logging onto a retailer’s website are expected to do so through a mobile device.

IBM came to this conclusion based on cloud analytics findings from the company’s cache of analytics solutions. Indeed, based on data from the IBM Coremetrics Benchmark, all online Christmas shopping in November is also expected to grow as much as 15 percent versus November 2010, with the growing influence of mobile devices such as iPads and Android phones being among the key factors.

Post-PC era

IBM’s Coremetrics Benchmark analysis gathers data directly from the websites of more than 500 leading US retailers. Using analytics technology, the benchmark measures real-time sales data and online marketing results to uncover shopping trends across a variety of channels, including social media, mobile devices and other online sources where consumers interact with their brands.

“This November holiday season will mark the true advent of the post-PC era with consumers demonstrating a heightened interest in adding mobile devices to their holiday shopping arsenal,” John Squire, director of product management for the Enterprise Marketing Management Group at IBM Industry Solutions, said in a statement.

“In response, savvy retailers must invest in delivering hyper-personalised, smarter commerce shopping experiences that are capable of building loyalty through multiple channels with exceptionally relevant promotions, free shipping and more.”

This is the fourth annual Coremetrics Benchmark campaign, and it reveals some interesting predictions about the 2011 November holiday online retail environment.

Impressive growth

In addition to predicting that total online sales in November will experience impressive growth of 12 to 15 percent over the same period in 2010, IBM also predicted that record numbers of consumers will shift their shopping from the PC to their mobile device this holiday season.

In October, nearly 11 percent of people used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, up from 4.2 percent in October 2010. Additionally, mobile sales continue to increase, reaching a high of 9.6 percent in October 2011, up from 3.4 percent in October 2010.

Also, IBM predicts that for the first time, Android users will demonstrate similar levels of mobile shopping as iPhone users. These October 2011 numbers show the iPhone accounting for 4.0 percent of mobile traffic and Android 3.5 percent.

Also, shoppers using an iPad will lead to retail purchases more often per visit than other mobile devices, IBM predicts. This trend is based on October 2011 figures where iPad conversion rates reached 6.8 percent as compared with the overall mobile device conversion rate of 3.6 percent.

‘Surgical shoppers’

And the so-called surgical shoppers are expected to go mobile as well. IBM predicts that mobile shoppers will display a laser focus on buying this season that surpasses that of other online shoppers with a 44.2 percent bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping rates of 37.3 percent.

In addition, IBM predicts a bigger impact from social networks on online shopping this year. IBM said while the industry will see modest increases in direct social buying, the influence of these sites and services will eclipse that of other channels.

According to October conversion rates, 9.2 percent of consumers who visited a retail site from a social media site made a purchase. This compares with 5.5 percent of all direct online shopping last year.

Also in 2011, the vast majority of social shopping will continue to come from Facebook, which in October accounted for 77 percent of all traffic from social networks, IBM said.