Online retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 increased by 10.3 percent year-over-year, with tablets accounting for twice the sales volume of smartphones, according to a new report from IBM released on Thursday.
According to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, while smartphones drove 21.3 percent of retail web traffic compared to 12.8 percent for tablets, tablet shoppers accounted for more sales, and spent more money per transaction.
Mobile shoppers accounted for 5 percent of sales, compared to 11.5 percent for tablets. Tablet shoppers spent an average of $118.09 per transaction compared to $104.72 for smartphone shoppers.
In a recent survey by Rackspace Hosting in November, 18 percent of shoppers planned to use their tablet to shop, up 8 percent over 2012.
Overall, in Q4 2013, online traffic from mobile devices rose 46 percent year-over-year. The study reinforces what many web hosts already know: mobile is an essential component of any successful ecommerce strategy.
The benchmark report comprises results from about 800 ecommerce sites in the US, including department stores, home goods retailers, health and beauty and apparel.
In terms of mobile platforms, iOS accounted for more traffic, sales and higher average spend. iOS accounted for about 12.7 percent of all online sales compared with 2.6 percent on Android.
When it comes to social media, Pinterest and Facebook generated the most online sales in the fourth quarter. According to the report, Facebook converted shoppers more than 3.5 times as frequently as Pinterest. Shoppers referred by Pinterest spend almost twice as much as shoppers referred by Facebook – $109.93 versus $60.48.