Online Sales Jumped 16.5% on Christmas Day

Not only did online retailers get a head start on Thanksgiving Weekend sales, they were also able to get a jump on after-Christmas sales, posting some of their biggest discounts of the year in the early hours of Christmas Day. And shoppers (us included) took advantage.
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Lauren Indvik
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Not only did online retailers get a head start on Thanksgiving Weekend sales, they were also able to get a jump on after-Christmas sales, posting some of their biggest discounts of the year in the early hours of Christmas Day. And shoppers (us included) took advantage.
Matthew Lloyd/Stringer/Getty

Matthew Lloyd/Stringer/Getty

It's been a good season to be an online retailer. Not only did online retailers get a head start on Thanksgiving Weekend sales, they were also able to get a jump on after-Christmas sales, posting some of their biggest discounts of the year in the early hours of Christmas Day. And shoppers (us included) took advantage: Sales on Christmas Day jumped 16.5 percent over last year -- an even bigger percentage increase than what online retailers saw over Thanksgiving Weekend, according to IBM.

IBM was unable to provide an exact dollar estimate for online sales on Christmas Day, but did note that mobile traffic to online retailers' sites was higher on Christmas Day than any other day this holiday season. (We can't help but wonder if people were stealthily shopping on their smartphones under the table, or testing their new tablets by navigating over to Net-a-Porter.) In all, smartphones and tablets accounted for nearly half (48 percent) of all online traffic on Christmas Day, up 28.3 percent from 2012. While traffic was high, purchasing rates were lower, albeit still impressive, accounting for nearly 29 percent of all sales on Christmas Day. The vast majority of those sales took place on tablets.

Perhaps most interesting is the role that Pinterest and Facebook played on the holiday. While IBM did not provide an estimate on the total amount of sales driven by Facebook and Pinterest (based on previous data, we imagine the numbers were relatively small), the company did note that shoppers referred from Facebook were four times more likely to make a purchase compared to those referred from Pinterest. That said, Pinterest shoppers spent more on average than their Facebook counterparts: $86.83 per order versus $72.01 per order.

There's no word yet on how brick and mortar retailers in the U.S. are faring the day after Christmas, though retailers in the UK saw an 8% increase in the number of shoppers out and about Boxing Day morning.