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Thanksgiving Sales Rise While Average Order Size Falls

Online sales were up on Thanksgiving as more people find it acceptable to shop on the major American holiday, but the average order size fell compared to last year. IBM’s Holiday Benchmark Data said Thanksgiving Day sales rose 14.3% compared to the same day last year.

Average order value was $125.25, down 1.8% compared to 2013. Shoppers purchased an average of 4.3 items per order, an increase of 16.2%. IBM said the trend may indicate that shoppers are becoming more comfortable and digitally savvy in how they use online coupons and rebates to secure the best bargains.

It broke down some Thanksgiving Day data by category, including the following

  • Health and Beauty: Average order value was $72.90, an increase of 6.2% year-over-year.
  • Home Goods: Average order value was $282.65, an increase of 19.2% year-over-year.
  • Apparel: Average order value was $112.79, a decrease of 1.9% year-over-year.

The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark tracks millions of transactions and terabytes of data from hundreds of U.S. retail websites.

People used their mobile devices to shop online, but not necessarily to purchase: mobile traffic accounted for 52.1% of all online traffic, but mobile sales accounted for 32.3% of all online sales.

So it’s not surprising the data showed Desktop PC traffic represented 47.6% of all online traffic, and 67.6% of all online sales.

Consumers spent more money on their desktops with an average order value of $132.48 compared to their mobile devices at $112.69.

IBM also took a look at social networking sites and found that Facebook referrals drove an average of $107.73 per order, while Pinterest referrals averaged $95.24 per order.

Curious what Thanksgiving shopping looked like last year? Check out this Shop.org blog post where it delves into some 2013 data. “We’ve been discussing trends around Thanksgiving Day shopping for at least four years now,” Kathy Grannis wrote, “And the rhetoric hasn’t changed one bit, except for the exceptional growth in the number of people who shop on Thursday every year.”

Among the look-back factoids: the portion of consumers who said they shopped online on Thanksgiving Day in 2013 was 27 percent. We’ll follow the data to see how the number changes this year.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.