Cyber Monday sales increase 19% aided by mobile, IBM says

Cyber Monday online sales increased 19% compared with last year, setting the foundation for what’s projected to be the biggest online shopping day of 2013.

Retailers catering to smartphone and tablet users are especially benefiting, with mobile traffic accounting for 30% of the total, an increase of almost 62% from last year, International Business Machines Corp. said in a statement today. IBM reported the sales as of 3 p.m. New York time today and compared the results with the same period last year.

The convenience of surfing deals from the couch is allowing online retailers to ramp up sales after the first spending decline on a Black Friday weekend since 2009. Mobile devices drove more than 16% of online sales, IBM said. EBay Inc.’s PayPal unit said in statement that mobile payment volume more than doubled as of 2 p.m. Eastern time.

“Cyber Monday has been the single biggest shopping day of the year for U.S. retailers for a number of years now,” Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., said in a statement today. “This year should be no different, especially given the compressed timeframe for holiday shopping and the trend toward more online shopping in general.”

Retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. are chasing e-commerce holiday revenue that is projected to increase 15% from 2012 to $78.7 billion, according to Forrester. Online spending increased 15% to a record $1.2 billion on Black Friday, according to research by ComScore Inc.

Comparable Sales

Amazon and EBay have both posted an increase in same-store sales so far today, compared with last year’s Cyber Monday takings, according to ChannelAdvisor Inc, which provides services to sellers on both of those sites. Amazon comparable sales rose 47% as of 10:30 a.m. New York time, while EBay’s increased 21%, the firm said. EBay’s, whose slew of deals begins at noon Eastern time, has said it expects Cyber Monday to be its biggest sales day this holiday season.

Commerce on tablets and smartphones grew twice as fast in the third quarter as desktop online spending, and Web users in August spent more time engaging with retailers on mobile devices than on desktops for the first time, according to ComScore.

Buying patterns on mobile devices since Thanksgiving have shown that tablets are more popular for purchases, while mobile phones are the choice for browsing. Smartphones drove 20% of all online traffic compared to 9.4% for tablets, IBM said. At the same time, tablets accounted for 10% of purchases, more than the 6.3% driven by phones.

The overall spending decline on the Black Friday weekend reinforced projections for a lackluster holiday, increasing chances retailers will extend the deep discounts already hurting their profit margins. Purchases at stores and websites fell 2.9% to $57.4 billion during the four days beginning with the Nov. 28 Thanksgiving holiday, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation.

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