U.S. online retail sales up 7.5% year-over-year in December as department store sales up 18%, health and beauty 16%, IBM says; sales from mobile devices doubled to 11%, up from 5.5% in 2010

Andrew Rogers

Andrew Rogers

Jan 10, 2012 – PRNewswire

ARMONK, New York , January 10, 2012 (press release) – The U.S. online retail sector delivered 7.5 percent growth in December 2011 compared to the same period last year, according to cloud-based analytics findings by IBM. IBM's findings follow a strong November where both Black Friday 2011 and Cyber Monday 2011 delivered double-digit growth over 2010.

Delivered as part of IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative, the IBM Benchmark December holiday report reveals the following trends:

December 2011 Compared to December 2010 (year/year)

Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales were up 7.5 percent over 2010.

Mobile Traffic: 14.6 percent of all online sessions on a retailer's site were initiated from a mobile device, more than double the rate of 5.6 percent over this same period in 2010.

Mobile Sales: Sales from mobile devices doubled, reaching 11 percent versus 5.5 percent in December 2010.

The Apple Shopper: Apple's iPhone and iPad ranked one and two for mobile device retail traffic (5.2 percent and 4.3 percent respectively). Android was third at 4.1 percent. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 9.5 percent over the course of the month.

The iPad Factor: Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device with conversion rates reaching 6.3 percent compared to 3.1 percent for all mobile devices.

Online Retail Categories

Department stores continued to offer an array of compelling deals and promotions that caught the attention of consumers. As a result, department stores online sales were up 18 percent over December 2010.

Home goods also reported a 15.6 percent increase in sales over December with consumers continuing to shift their attention toward the home.

Apparel sales were strong last month realizing an increase of 16.3 percent over 2010.

Health and Beauty consumers continued to show a desire to pamper themselves over the holiday with December sales increasing by 16 percent year over year.

"This past December consumers remained committed to finding the best online deals whether through their PC or mobile device," said John Squire, Chief Strategy Officer, IBM Smarter Commerce. "By employing a smarter approach to commerce, many retailers were successful in helping to connect their customers with the best deals from anywhere and at any time, even on Christmas Day where online shopping grew by 16.4 percent over 2010."

About IBM Smarter Commerce

IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative delivers software and services to help companies transform their business processes to more quickly respond to shifting customer demands in today's digitally transformed marketplace. The initiative is driven by the demands from organizations who are increasingly looking for ways to bring new levels of automation to marketing, sales and fulfillment to secure greater customer loyalty. The growth of mobile, social and online commerce are key trends within Smarter Commerce.

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