Online Sales Up 14 Percent During Year-End Shopping Season

(Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

Though retailers are still calculating their year-end-shopping-season performance, online shopping, and particularly mobile shopping, surged in popularity during the recent period, according to a new report.

Online sales grew 13.9 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 compared with the same period in 2013, according to IBM Digital Analytics. Mobile sales accounted for almost one-quarter of online sales, up 27 percent from 2013, mostly through tablets.

The growth was more dramatic than the previous year. Online sales grew 8.5 percent during the 2013 year-end shopping season compared with the same period in 2012. People spent less per transaction, though. The average online order value dropped 8 percent in 2014 to $119.33.

Online sales make up a sliver of total retail sales — anywhere from 7 to 14 percent, depending on the source — but are growing at a faster rate than overall industry sales. The National Retail Federation estimated that total year-end-shopping-season spending would grow 4.1 percent this season.

Shoppers increasingly used their mobile devices to browse, accounting for almost half of all online year-end-shopping-season traffic, up 25.5 percent over last year. Most mobile browsing took place on smartphones.

In a separate study on cybersecurity, IBM found that the number of cyberattacks on U.S. retailers declined 50 percent from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5 in 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. Still, data thieves accessed 61 million records from businesses during 2014, the company said.