Online sales on “Cyber Monday” -- the Monday after Thanksgiving -- were up 30% this year from Cyber Monday 2011, making it the most successful day of mobile shopping in history, according to analysis from IBM. Interestingly, mobile commerce drove much of the increase while social commerce actually decreased from last year.

iPad Helps Propel Mobile Shopping 

More than 18% of Cyber Monday’s online consumer traffic was generated by a mobile device, a substantial 70% increase from the percentage of mobile-based online consumer traffic in 2011. Furthermore, almost 13% of all Cyber Monday online sales occurred via a mobile device, close to double the percentage in 2011.

The iPad dominated both overall mobile and tablet-based Cyber Monday online consumer traffic. More than 7% of online shopping that day was conducted via iPad, closely followed by iPhone at 6.9% and Android devices at 6.5%. Tablet traffic was totally dominated by iPad, which accounted for about 90% of all Cyber Monday online traffic -- distantly followed by Kindle at 2.6%.

However, smartphones were still the preferred device for consumers who performed “multiscreen” shopping in-store -- 58.1% used smartphones while 41.9% used tablets.

Social Sales, Order Values Drop

Conversely, sales generated from social network referrals dropped a significant 26% from Cyber Monday 2011, only representing 0.41% of all Cyber Monday online sales this year. In response to free shipping offers and an increased number of retailer deals, consumers decreased their average order total 6.6% to US$ 185.12.

IBM-CyberMonday Infographic

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Promotions May Drive Sales More than Technology

Although ubiquitous consumer connections to the Internet certainly play a large role in the continuing growth of Cyber Monday sales, the Christian Science Monitor suggests heavy retailer promotions may actually serve as an even bigger driver. An article about the popularity of Cyber Monday quoted Experian general manager of global market research Bill Tancer as saying “the biggest reason (for high Cyber Monday sales) may be the sheer dedication of today’s shopper to getting the best deal possible.”

Lancer said “today’s highly-mobile and gadget-equipped consumers are maximizing the ability of their tablets and smart phones to lead them to the best online deals,” demonstrating that the technology serves as an enabler of successful promotions but does not cause the sales by itself.

Cyber Monday Follows Equally Impressive Black Friday

This year’s Cyber Monday success followed an equally impressive "Black Friday," which featured more than US$ 1 billion of online sales. Black Friday also featured a 193% increase in mobile traffic from the previous year, which set the stage for this year’s Cyber Monday mobile performance. CMSWire previewed several strong Cyber Monday promotions from leading retail names such as Apple and Best Buy, lending credence to the Christian Science Monitor’s assertion that marketing and advertising are the real drivers of online commerce.

IBM based its analysis on findings from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, a cloud-based Web analytics platform that tracks more than a million e-commerce transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers nationwide.