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11/26/2012
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iPad Is Top Black Friday Shopping Tablet

Apple's tablet was the mobile device of choice for online shoppers looking to grab bargains during Thanksgiving weekend.

iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour
iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
There's good chance that shoppers who bought an iPad during the Thanksgiving holiday break made the purchase using -- an iPad. Apple's tablet was one of the hottest selling gadgets for the turkey day/Black Friday buying binge, and it was also the most popular mobile device for making online buys, according to a study from IBM.

10% of all online purchases were made from an iPad during the two-day holiday period, while 8.7% were made from an iPhone. Android devices accounted for 5.5% of sales, the study said.

The iPad also drove 88% of sales made from tablets alone (excluding PCs, phones, and other access devices), while trailing far behind was Barnes & Noble's Nook, at 3.1%. Amazon's Kindle line accounted for 2.4% of sales, while the Samsung Galaxy generated 1.8% of transactions. Tablets powered by Microsoft's new Windows 8 OS, including Surface RT, didn't register in the data reported by IBM.

[ Samsung's new devices are also moving briskly. See Samsung Ships 5 Million Galaxy Note II Smartphones. ]

Microsoft has not divulged early sales data for Windows 8 and related products, which hit stores Oct. 26.

IBM culled the data from its Digital Analytics Benchmark, a cloud-based analytics platform that tracks more than a million e-commerce transactions per day and analyzes terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers across the country. The data could help retailers determine which platforms to invest in when it comes to developing apps and other online services.

IBM said online sales were up 13.4% overall on Thanksgiving Day, compared to the previous year, while Black Friday sales were up 20%.

"This year's holiday shopper was hungry for great deals and retailers didn't disappoint, rolling out compelling offers which consumers gobbled up on Thanksgiving straight through Black Friday," said Jay Henderson, strategy Director for IBM Smarter Commerce."The big winners were chief marketing officers who used technology to deliver customer experiences that not only connected shoppers with personalized deals but did so at the right touchpoint and at precisely the right time and place, whether on their couch or the store floor."

IBM found that mobile devices are quickly gaining popularity with consumers looking to spare themselves the pain of long checkout lines at crowded brick-and-mortar stores. 24% of consumers made purchases through a mobile device over Thanksgiving, compared to 14.3% last year. Of the mobile devices used to surf retail sites, 58% were smartphones, while 41% were tablets.

Experts say online shopping gives consumers more time to spend with their families during the holidays, and that retailers need to take notice.

"To remain relevant, retailers must find opportunities to participate in holiday rituals in ways that aid consumers' attainment of the holidays they imagine -- enjoying time with family and shopping when convenient," said Tonya Bradford, a business professor at Notre Dame. "Technology provides more opportunities for retailers to create these experiences for consumers through their mobile computing devices."

Indeed, while consumers spent more overall this Thanksgiving, they were more selective than ever, spreading purchases across multiple retailers. Average order value decreased by 4.7 percent to $181.22. The average number of items per order decreased 12 percent to 5.6, according to IBM.

Upgrading isn't the easy decision that Win 7 was. We take a close look at Server 2012, changes to mobility and security, and more in the new Here Comes Windows 8 issue of InformationWeek. Also in this issue: Why you should have the difficult conversations about the value of OS and PC upgrades before discussing Windows 8. (Free registration required.)

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