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The 2012 Christmas online shopping season was the strongest ever. The figures show we are now a nation of online shoppers, spending around £100 on average at a time per transaction, and are particularly focused on mobile.

We increasingly used mobile devices to shop, with iPad reaching its peak in online traffic to retail sites on Christmas Day. IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark: Christmas retail report shows this was the year of increasing online sales and record adoption of iPad by shoppers .The report shows sales up by almost half on Boxing Day and significant increase in use of mobile devices

The UK online retail sector delivered 16.4 percent sales growth in December 2012 compared to the same period last year, according to cloud-based analytics findings by IBM.

Boxing Day had the strongest percentage increase with sales up 45 percent on last year. IBM's findings follow a strong November where online retail sales were up 13.7 percent on 2011.

Delivered as part of IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, the IBM Benchmark Christmas season report reveals the following stand-out trends:

·        Mondays still dominate: Monday November 26 was a big online shopping day, and the following two Mondays in December almost tied as the two largest online shopping day, as was the case is 2011.

·        Mobile Traffic close to a quarter of all traffic: 24.2 percent of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device in December, hitting a record high of 33.6 percent on Christmas Day.

·        Mobile Sales represent over a fifth of all sales: Sales from mobile devices were 20.3 percent in December, reaching almost 30 percent on Christmas Day.

·        iPad Factor: iPad traffic in November tripled year-on-year, growing more than 200 percent. This compares to other mobile traffic which also grew significantly with Android increasing by 30.2 percent and iPhone 35.3 percent in November.

"The report suggests that this was the year of the iPad, not just as a device for shopping and browsing retail websites but also as the gift of choice on Christmas Day, when  iPad  traffic hit its peak at 17 percent,” says Chris Withers, UK head of Smarter Commerce, IBM. “This provides another clear reminder to retailers of the need to optimise browsing experiences for mobile devices.”

The 2012 Christmas online retail shopping season was the strongest ever with an increase of 15 percent in November and December over the same time period in 2011. Online sales generally peaked on Mondays with one of the biggest year over year percentage increases on Boxing Day at an impressive 45 percent.

The use of mobile devices continued to grow substantially over 2011. Christmas Day hit record highs when 33.6 percent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site and sales from a mobile device soared to nearly 30 percent. The Apple iPad overtook the iPhone in generating more traffic than any other mobile device this Christmas season.  In December, Android traffic was 5 percent, iPhone was 7.2 percent while iPad generated 11.8 percent of all online traffic.

The full report is available to download here.

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