Apple’s iPad Dominated Black Friday Shopping: IBM

A mall filled with zombies, er, holiday shoppers.

If Black Friday and the unofficial opening of the U.S. holiday sales season indicated anything, it’s that consumers prefer shopping on their Apple iPads.

According to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark, more than 24 percent of consumers used some sort of mobile device to visit a retailer’s Website on Black Friday, a notable increase from 14.3 percent in 2011. Actual mobile sales comprised 16 percent of the shopping total, up from 9.8 percent last year.

Some 10 percent of those shoppers using mobile devices relied on the iPad, followed by 8.7 percent using the iPhone. Another 5.5 percent used a Google Android device. When you isolate for tablet-generated shopping traffic, the iPad dominates with 88.3 percent, far ahead of Barnes & Noble’s Nook device at 3.1 percent, the Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.

If the holiday shopping season has proven great for tablets, it’s been decidedly less fantastic for social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube: the Benchmark suggested that shoppers referred from those networks were responsible for a mere .34 percent of all online sales on Black Friday—not only a middling number, but also a significant decrease (35 percent) from 2011. Of course, that number may have spiked significantly higher on Cyber Monday, when shoppers are encouraged to turn to the Web to max out their credit cards on soon-to-be-outdated products.

“Two years ago the iPad was trailing Android usage but this year it was more than twice Android usage. Curiously, the iPhone seems to also be pulling ahead of Android,” analyst Horace Dediu wrote in a Nov. 26 blog posting. “Curiously because the number of Android users in the US has gone the other way. That data is available from ComScore, though only for phones.”

The iPad, he argues, has a “near monopoly” on the tablet market. But the smartphone market is another thing altogether: “Engagement is down as ownership is up.” That pattern isn’t followed by the iPhone. Nor is it limited to shopping: Dediu argues that, whatever the category, Android users tend to be less engaged despite ever-higher rates of ownership.

“I’m not satisfied with the explanation that Android users are demographically different because the Android user pool is now so vast and because the most popular devices are not exactly cheap,” he added. “There is something else at play. It might be explained by design considerations or by user experience flaws or integration but something is different.”

Whatever the cause, it seems that mobile shoppers prefer iOS when it comes to the ritual holiday gift-stocking.


Image: Padmayogini/