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iPad grabs top spot as preferred Black Friday shopping tool

Along with the iPhone, tablet generates three-fourths of mobile traffic during last week's sales

Apple retained its stranglehold on mobile shopping over the two-day stretch of Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the U.S., IBM said last weekend.

More than three-fourths of all mobile traffic to online retailers during those two discount days was generated by Apple's iPhone and iPad, according to IBM, whose Digital Analytics Benchmark regularly monitors online retail traffic. The two iOS devices accounted for 77% of all mobile traffic.

The remaining 23% was credited to Android-powered smartphones or tablets, with the latter represented by Samsung's Galaxy Tab line, Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook.

Apple's iPad was the most-used device for mobile shopping, said IBM, accounting for 40.6% of the total. The iPhone followed, with a 36.3% share, while Android -- both smartphones and tablets -- brought up the rear with 23.1%.

Less than 5%, or under one-fifth of Android's total, came from Android-powered tablets.

"The iPad dominated tablet traffic," said IBM in its report ( download PDF), noting that almost nine-tenths of all tablet-generated retail traffic originated on an iPad.

This was the third year running that the iPad increased its share of Thanksgiving-Black Friday mobile traffic.

Meanwhile, Android, which had remained mired at around 28% for the last two years, slipped in 2012 to 23%, despite Android's continuing dominance of the smartphone OS market. In the third quarter, Android smartphones outsold the iPhone 5-to-1, Gartner said two weeks ago.

Overall, mobile devices accounted for 24% of all online traffic during the two days, an increase of 69% from the 14.2% of 2011, and more than four times that of the 5.3% in 2010.

Online sales were up 17.4% on Thanksgiving, up 20.7% on Black Friday, over the same days in 2011, IBM said. Metric firm comScore, however pegged Black Friday's online sales gain at 26%, and Monday said that total online sales for the day had passed the $1 billion mark for the first time.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about e-business in Computerworld's E-business Topic Center.


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