The statistics are in, and IBM reports that both Black Friday as well as Thanksgiving Day were good days for retailers selling online – especially thanks to traffic from mobile buyers.

And many people were buying early to capitalize on the best deals.

A timeline graphic from Big Blue shows a quick surge in buying just after midnight then a big drop-off until around 3:45 a.m.

The early-bird buyers were out in big numbers from that point on, surging to peak levels for the day between 8:20-9:15 a.m.

After that frenzy, the buying fell off – maybe because many of the best deals were already sold out – or people needed some sleep.

Regardless, the totals for the day were impressive, IBM reported.

“2012 marked a banner year on a number of fronts with mobile traffic growing by more than 67 percent and Thanksgiving turning out to be a huge shopping day for consumers as they responded to retailers’ early Black Friday promotions,” IBM said in its 2012 Holiday Benchmark report.


  • Consumer Spending Increases:Online sales on Thanksgiving grew by 17.4 percent followed by Black Friday where sales increased 20.7 percent over last year.
  • Mobile Shopping: Mobile purchases soared with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2011.
  • The iPad Factor: The iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smart phone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping. This was followed by iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android 5.5 percent. The iPad dominated tablet traffic at 88.3 percent followed by the Barnes and Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.
  • Multiscreen Shopping: Consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best bargains. Overall 58 percent of consumers used smartphones compared to 41 percent who used tablets to surf for bargains on Black Friday.
  • The Savvy shopper: While consumers spent more overall, they shopped with greater frequency to take advantage of retailer deals and free shipping. This led to a drop in average order value by 4.7 percent to $181.22. In addition, the average number of items per order decreased 12 percent to 5.6.
  • Social Media Sentiment Index: Shoppers expressed positive consumer sentiment on promotions, shipping and convenience as well as the retailers themselves at a three to one ratio.
  • Social Sales: Shoppers referred from Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated .34 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, a decrease of more than 35 percent from 2011.

Tech Wire blogs also report where dollars were spent and how mobile shopping surged.

IBM employs some 10,000 people across North Carolina.

[IBM ARCHIVE: Check out 10 years of IBM stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]