Smartphones Versus Tablets 2013 Holiday Results

Smartphones & Tablets Drive Sales [Charts]

mobile shops Mobile devices boosted 2013′s holiday online sales visits.

Out of 400 million online shopping visits during Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year, one in four online sales occurred on a tablet or smartphone according to Adobe.

Background: Mobile goes shopping

Before diving into the holiday shopping data, it’s important to understand how people use their mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets, to shop. According to GE Capital’s second Mobile Shopper Study, mobile buyers are more engaged and expect a frictionless, consistent experience regardless of device or location.

Mobile shopping when and where I want

Since people tend to have their smartphone within arm’s reach most of the time, it’s no surprise that they use these devices to save time shopping.  GE Capital Retail Bank second annual Mobile Shopper Study

  • 59% of those surveyed visit a retail site on a tablet.
  • 43% of those surveyed visit a retail site on a smartphone.
  • 61% of those surveyed performed at least one shopping-related task on their mobile phone
  • 36% of those surveyed shopped from their smartphone during the past 3 months, up 10 percentage points from 2012.

Mobile researches before purchases

Customers have always done their homework for high-ticket items. With computers and mobile devices, they can easily check prices and reviews with limited time or effort.  GE Capital Retail Bank second annual Mobile Shopper Study-research purchase

  • 25% of those surveyed always conduct online research prior to purchase.
  • 46% of those surveyed research purchases for items over $116.

Make me a mobile offer

Customers are receptive to mobile offers accord to the GE Capital findings.

  • 73% of those surveyed regularly take advantage of offers
  • 69% of those surveyed are more likely to make a purchase if they have a coupon.
  • 40% of shoppers surveyed said they’d shop from a retailer more frequently if they receive mobile offers.

According to IBM, retailers pushed 77% more mobile notices over the 2013 holiday period compared to daily averages over the past 2 months. Further, average daily retail app installations were 29% higher than the daily averages over the past 2 months. (BTW—Here’s how to promote your mobile app.) This has a silver lining for retailers whose installed base may continue to use these apps through out the year.

Online shopping 2013

Overall online holiday shopping 2013 revealed: Consumer online shopping at home peaked in the after dinner evening hours. The exception was on Black Friday when customers checked online earlier in the day before heading out to retail establishments during the day.

It’s important to note that some retailers released different promotions through out the period.

2013 Online Holiday Sales By the Hour-Adobe

Smartphones versus Tablets 2013 Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Mobile sales accounted for over 15% of holiday sales Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Close examination reveals that tablet sales were significantly greater than smartphone sales.

2013 Mobile Holiday Sales By Day-Adobe

Channel Advisor’s analysis of same store sales over the 5 day holiday period reveals an important difference between smartphones and tablets 2013.

  • Smartphones drove an average of 20.7% of online traffic. This was over 3 percentage points higher than that of tablets (17.1% of traffic).
  • Tablets drove 15% of orders. This was 6 percentage points higher than smartphones.

CHannel Advisor - Holiday 2013-3

Mobile shops on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Thanksgiving is moving from being a holiday where few if any stores are open to a full fledged shopping day for many people. (Unfortunately, this means many will need to work to keep these establishments open.) This is attributable in part to the fact that people can shop while appearing to be involved with family festivities.

Here’s the data according to Adobe:

  • $1.06 billion in online Thanksgiving Day sales, up 18% from 2012.
  • $1.93 billion in online Black Friday sales, up over 30% from 2012.
  • iPad tablets drove $417 million in sales, more than the combination of $126 million in iPhone smartphone sales and $106 million in Android phone sales.

The preference to shop on a tablet rather than a smartphone makes sense since tablets are a made-to-shop device where you can let your fingers doing the shopping. They’re the connected equivalent of catalogs.

Mobile shops on Cyber Monday too!

Cyber Monday remained close to its origins as a PC based event. According to Adobe:

  • Mobile accounted for  $419 mil­lion of Cyber Monday sales, or 18.3% of all online sales.
  • Tablets drove $290 mil­lion in Cyber Monday sales.
  • Smartphones drove $129 mil­lion in Cyber Monday sales.

Tablets also generated higher priced item sales on  Cyber Monday according to IBM. Their owners spent $126.30 per order while smartphone owners spent $106.49. (As a point of comparison, the overall average order value was $128.77. This means that PC based orders were higher than smartphones or tablets.)

The bottom line for markers in terms of smartphones versus tablets 2013: You must be present on both smartphones and tablets. The main reasons are:

  • Consumers research and gather information on smartphones.
  • Consumers shop on tablets. Also, tablet activity can be incremental to other device usage.

What has your experience been with mobile sales, both smartphones and tablets?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • Ann Smarty

    Very helpful information. It is always interested to see where people fall on the division between tablets and smartphones.