Apple Becomes Bigger Part of Thanksgiving Feast

Despite a heavy dose of tryptophan and carbohydrates, more Americans than ever still found a way to shop over the post-Thanksgiving weekend. The official start of the holiday shopping season began with a great deal of optimism and a strong focus on purchases through portable devices.

A record breaking 247 million consumers visited stores and websites over the Black Friday weekend, representing a 9 percent increase from the 226 million seen last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. On average, individual consumers also spent more money this year, forking-over $423 during the shopping binge, compared to $398 in 2011. Total spending over the entire four-day weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13 percent increase from last year.

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“From green beans to great deals, millions of Americans found time this Thanksgiving to make the most of retailers’ promotions and enjoy a special family holiday,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “To keep their customers excited about holiday shopping, retailers will continue to offer attractive promotions through December, and provide strong consumer value with low prices, enhanced mobile and online offerings, and unique product assortment.”

Technology was a large driver of sales in all aspects. Online sales increased 17.4 percent on Thanksgiving Day from last year, according to IBM’s (NYSE:IBM) Digital Analytics Benchmark report, the only analytics-based, peer-level benchmarking solution that measures online marketing results, including real-time sales data. Online sales jumped 20.7 percent on Black Friday.

The biggest surge came from mobile users, with sales reaching 16.3 percent. While Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is known for offering rare discounts on Black Friday, the world’s largest company has now become a bigger part of the shopping feast. The iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, accounting for almost 10 percent of online shopping, according to IBM. Apple also came in second, with its iPhone representing 8.7 percent of traffic, followed by Android’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) 5.5 percent share.

Looking only at tablet traffic share, the iPad dominated the field with a whopping 88.3 percent. The Barnes and Noble (NYSE:BKS) Nook came in a distant second with 3.1 percent, while the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle logged 2.4 percent. The Samsung Galaxy represented only 1.8 percent of all tablet traffic.

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