Online sales up 10% for holidays

A final look at holiday shopping by IBM shows that retailers did more sales through online, mobile applications and social media than any year prior.

From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, online retail sales were up more than 10 percent over the same period last year, confirming what retailers and experts suspected: More shoppers are using the Web not just to browse for gifts, but to buy them, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks millions of transactions for retail sites.

Sales on smartphones and tablets increased more than 46 percent, and accounted for almost 17 percent of all online sales. When given a choice of mobile devices, shoppers preferred to make the purchase on tablets, which accounted for more than double the number of sales on smartphones, according to IBM. Most mobile shoppers were using iPhones and iPads this year, because retail purchases made using Apple’s iOS were five times higher than sales on the Android operating system.

Department stores saw the highest online sales growth — 63 percent — followed by home goods retailers. Clothing retailers trailed with a 10 percent increase.

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