As many could have predicted, consumers continued to turn to online and mobile to make purchases on Black Friday. And as it turned out, brands with a strong, integrated retail marketing strategy in place took the cake. According to IBM Smarter Commerce CSO, brands who came out on top were those who “delivered a smarter commerce experience with compelling, relevant deals that people could easily access from their channel of choice.” Through integrated marketing, these brands delivered exactly what consumers were looking for, right when they were looking for it, by way of a comprehensive mobile strategy, social strategy and SEM (search engine marketing) efforts.

According to a report from IBM, the holiday shopping season kicked off with a handful of “firsts” this year. Below are a few of the highlights from the study:

  • Spending Started Early, Started Strong: This was the first year strong holiday spending began as early as Thanksgiving Day, with a 39.3% increase in online spending that day
  • Spending Stayed Strong: Black Friday followed close behind, with a 24.3% increase in online sales
  • Mobile Bargain Hunter Revealed: On Black Friday, mobile traffic increased to 14.3% (compared to 5.6% in 2010), as droves of mobile bargain hunters began utilizing their mobile devices as research tools for in-store and online bargains
  • Mobile Shopper Devices: Not surprisingly, the Apple iPhone and iPad led the way as the number one and two devices of choice for mobile shoppers; Android ranked third. In addition, shoppers on iPads led to more retail purchases more frequently than any other mobile device
  • Social Media Participation: On Black Friday, .53% of all online sales were referred by social networks. The leading network was Facebook, driving 75% of all social network traffic. Additionally, discussions taking place across social media sites jumped 110%, focusing on topics such as how to avoid the rush, parking concerns and a spike in positive sentiment regarding Cyber Monday sales

IBM isn’t the only one who noticed the increase in mobile purchases. PayPal, for example, saw a shocking 514% increase in mobile purchases on Cyber Monday. And according to interim results from a survey by the CEA and Caravan, almost half (46%) of shoppers who purchased electronics did so online.

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