Q4 2013 Online Sales Increase 10.3% Over Previous Year

  • January 2, 2014 at 5:42 PM EST
  • By Alicia Esposito
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With the 2013 holiday season now behind them, retailers are reporting significant improvements in their e-Commerce and mobile sales results, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark

The quarterly retail index revealed that Q4 2013 online sales increased 10.3% over the same period in 2012.

Mobile results also improved during the quarter, accounting for a larger percentage of both online traffic and sales. Tablet and smartphone traffic made up approximately 35% of all online traffic — a 40% increase over the previous year. Total mobile sales reached 16.6% in Q4 2013, a 46% boost over 2012.

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Yet mobile traffic and sales results varied significantly by device type and operating system. According to the benchmark, smartphones (21.3%) accounted for a larger share of mobile traffic than tablets (12.8%). However, tablets (11.5%) drove more online sales than smartphones (5%). Average cost per order also was higher for tablets, with the average user spending $118.09 per purchase, while smartphone users spent approximately $104.72 per order.

Online sales from iOS devices also were five times higher than that of Android devices, driving 12.7% versus 2.6%. IOS users spent $115.42 per order, a notable difference from Android subscribers, who only spent $83.56 per order.

Sales Increase Across Categories

When broken down by category, the IBM research confirms that all types of retailers experienced an improvement in online and mobile sales.

Q4 2013 versus Q4 2012 results are as follows:

  • Department Stores: Fourth quarter online sales grew by 62.8% over the previous year, with mobile sales growing by 49.6% over the same period.
  • Health & Beauty: Online sales improved by 14.7% over 2012, with mobile sales growing by 81.7%.
  • Home Goods: E-Commerce sales increased by more than 46.4% over Q4 2012, while mobile sales swelled by 38%.
  • Apparel: Online sales for the quarter grew by 10.2% over 2012, with mobile sales growing by 54.5% over the same period.


In terms of social media, Facebook and Pinterest drove the most e-Commerce sales during Q4 2013. Shoppers clicking to e-Commerce sites from Pinterest spent $109.93 per order, while consumers who purchased products from Facebook spent only $60.48 per order. However, Facebook referrals converted to sales 3.5X more frequently than Pinterest referrals.

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