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November 26, 2012

iPad is the King of Tablet Shopping for Black Friday Shoppers

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Black Friday (News - Alert) doesn't mean what it used to mean. While most people think of Black Friday as a series of wandering store-to-store fist fights over the latest electronics and hottest toys, for more and more people, Black Friday is turning into something done from a computer or tablet, much like Cyber Monday. When it comes to shopping, there are plenty who are turning to tablets, and according to IBM's (News - Alert) retail analytics report, when they do, they turn overwhelmingly to the iPad.

The IBM retail analytics report, which covered the big surge in online shopping that represented Black Friday, revealed that not only was online shopping up overall--Friday's sales represented an increase of 20.7 percent over the same time last year--but shopping from mobile devices was also significantly up. 16 percent of all online sales came from mobile devices--a number up from 10 percent the previous year--and fully 24 percent of consumers hit a shopping site on a mobile device, which was up from 14 percent just a year prior.

Image via Shutterstock

While these numbers are certainly welcome to an economy suffering a slowdown worse than the Flash in a bear trap, one key point escaped the IBM retail analytics report that made plenty sit up and take notice. The iPad was the surprise front-runner when it came to the source of all that clicking and tapping, accounting for roughly 10 percent of all online shopping, or a massive 88.3 percent of all tablet shopping traffic. Next came the iPhone (News - Alert) at 8.7 percent, and then all Android devices combined to yield 5.5 percent.

Naturally, when numbers that are so clearly disproportionate come in, the subject that invariably follows is "why"? Several potential explanations, naturally, leap out, from "Apple (News - Alert) owners have more disposable income" to "Apple owners are getting the best online shopping experience thanks to the iPad's control scheme and display". Naturally, the analytics report didn't get too far into reasons, but there's another critical point to consider.

Back in September, when the iPhone 5 launched, Tim Cook came out to point out that the iPad had a huge share of overall online browsing when it came to tablets--91 percent at the time--so that would go a long way toward explaining the massive weight on the Apple side of the scale. After all, if more people are browsing with Apple devices, then more people will likely shop with Apple devices as well. Meanwhile, the Android (News - Alert) users are off using some other method, like their PCs or actually going out into the brick-and-mortar to do battle for their purchases.

With the face of Black Friday becoming less about door busters and more about sitting on the couch with a plate of leftovers and hitting the Internet--after all, Cyber Monday really only got started back in 2005 as a way to take advantage of much fatter work-based Internet pipes to go shopping, and the difference between home-based Internet speeds and work-based speeds is getting somewhat narrower--it's going to change quite a bit in Black Fridays to come. Whether it's done on a tablet or in a store, people will shop, and the best shopping experience overall will be how they do it.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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