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Mobile Shopping Doubled Over 2011 Holiday Season: IBM, Marin Software

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Holiday season 2011 online shopping statistics show tremendous growth in mobile shopping activity, with online sessions and sales on retail sites in December double their volume from the same period last year, according to IBM.

Click Share by device stats according to Marin Software

Marin Software also reports that the number of paid search clicks from mobile and tablets doubled over Q3, to 10 percent of all paid search ad clicks. The click through rate on tablets was 38 percent higher than on desktops.

Click Through Rate by device stats according to Marin Software

Paid Search Clicks Up 56 Percent YoY in Q4

Matt Lawson, VP of Marketing and Partnerships at Marin Software, tells Search Engine Watch how this translates year-over-year: "Paid search clicks tend to be growing very quickly; we saw a 56 percent YoY increase and a 23 percent increase in click through rate." Lawson believes the upward trend is a testament to consumer adoption of smartphones and also better performance for advertisers, with higher click through rates and in many cases, lower costs per click. "It’s a combination of a very favourable advertiser environment with higher consumer adoption," he said.

Key findings from Marin Software’s U.S. Online Advertising Report for Q4 2011:

  • Across Google, Yahoo and Bing, paid search spend increased 35 percent, click volume increased 56 percent, CTR increased 23 percent and cost per click (CPC) decreased 14 percent during Q4 2011 on a year over year basis.
  • Compared to 2010, search advertisers on Google saw a 48 percent increase in clicks during Q4 2011 without an accompanying increase in impressions. CTR on Google also increased 48 percent while CPC decreased 7 percent, suggesting large-scale advertisers realized efficiency gains through improved matching and more effective bidding.
  • On Yahoo and Bing, impressions increased 43 percent on a year over year basis, most likely as a result of advertisers building more robust search campaigns and increasing spend on the Search Alliance. Compared to Q4 2010, Yahoo and Bing advertisers realized a 44 percent increase in click volume, a 9 percent increase in CPC and a 1 percent boost in CTR during Q4 2011.

According to Lawson, "Our advertisers have seen a decrease in cost per click YoY and that speaks to efficiency. That’s prevented run away growth, but we’re definitely seeing healthy growth. We’re curious to see if this continues to play out in Q1 and Q2."

Online Shopping Up 7.5 Percent in December YoY, Mobile Traffic and Sales Doubled

IBM found that U.S. online retail increased 7.5 percent over December 2010, after a strong November, driven by double-digit growth on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Department store online sales were up 18 percent over 2010, while home goods and apparel sales saw increases of 15.6 and 16.3 percent, respectively.

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, according to their report. Sales from mobile devices doubled, reaching 11 percent versus 5.5 percent in December 2010.

Other key findings from the IBM Benchmark December holiday report:

  • 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.
  • 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, in a written statement. "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."

What was your experience over the 2011 holiday season, did you see the same trend? Let us know in the comments!


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