Mobile Devices Have Their Biggest Thanksgiving Yet

Instagram users took record numbers of photos this Thanksgiving, and the retail frenzy following Thanksgiving has been more mobile-focused than ever.
Posted at 11:19 AM, Nov 30, 2013

Thanksgiving is a chance to meet with family and friends, eat a big dinner — and more and more these days, stare into the soft blue glow of a tablet screen or smartphone.

As you might expect, it starts with the food. Instagram reports on its blog Thanksgiving 2013 was the single busiest day in its history. It didn't release specific numbers, but users reportedly uploaded more than 10 million images in one day, which was the record set last Thanksgiving.

And after the sepia-toned turkey and potatoes comes the kickoff to the holiday shopping season — which leans on smartphones and tablets more heavily than ever. (Via NBC)

According to an IBM analysis that tracked more than 1,000 retail websites, mobile devices accounted for more than 38 percent of all online retail traffic on Black Friday.

Breaking that down further, it appears iOS users had a commanding lead when it came to actually purchasing the stuff they found. According to IBM's report, more than 80 percent of those sales occurred on an Apple device.

Walmart's website, for example, saw 400 million views over Thanksgiving. Fifty-three percent of those visits came from a mobile device of some kind.

"While it's not exactly surprising to see mobile making such a huge impact on Walmart, it's a telling sign that shopping on phones and tablets is catching on with general consumers." (Via VentureBeat)

And if they weren't already using a tablet, it might be because they were in line to get one — Walmart says it sold 1.4 million tablets in its first day of sales after Thanksgiving, most of which were the iPad Mini. (Via YouTube / Joseph Solis)

Perhaps surprisingly, social media didn't play a large role in driving commerce over the holiday.

IBM spokesperson told AllThingsD traffic directly from social media sites to e-commerce sites was almost as low as it was last year — so minimal it didn't even publish the exact proportion.

"We've seen the percentage of online traffic and online sales driven by social media relatively constant — low-single-digit growth this year — so we haven't been releasing these metrics in our benchmark numbers."

But the digital frenzy isn't over yet. Cyber Monday, a now-traditional day of online discounts, has enjoyed constant growth over the last eight years.

Numbers from digital research agency ComScore show retailers netted nearly $1.5 billion in 2012 from Cyber Monday, and they look to be on track for another successful event. (Via The Washington Post)