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Fanboi droves use iPads to buy more iPads on Black Friday

Grey Thursday may have meant red ink for festive figures

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Apple's iPad was used by one in every 10 online shoppers on Black Friday, according to IBM's Holiday Benchmark report.

Continuing the trend of opening the supposed sales extravaganza earlier, online shopping grew 17.4 per cent on Thanksgiving compared to the same day a year earlier and Black Friday online sales were up 20.7 per cent.

Nearly one-quarter of all net shoppers used a mobile device to browse for a gift and purchase, up from 14.3 per cent in 2011... and a staggering 10 per cent of total online traffic originated from Apple iPad users, many of whom were no doubt looking to buy an iPad 2.

"The iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, reaching nearly 10 per cent of online shopping," said IBM, adding that the Apple slab accounted for 88.3 per cent of all "tablet traffic".

Infographic via IBM newsroom.

The fanbois were clearly out in their droves, because the iPhone (8.7 per cent) was the next most searched upon device followed by Android (5.5 per cent).

According to figures from comScore, $1bn was spent online during Black Friday, a 26 per cent rise but a total of $11.8bn was splashed in the holiday season (between 1 to 23 November), up 16 per cent.

Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg and his mates will be less than pleased to hear that "shoppers referred from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube" generated just 0.34 per cent of all online sales on Black Friday, a decrease of more than 35 per cent from 2011.

But while the peak sales day was a business booster for web traders, it was not perhaps what hard-pressed bricks-and-mortar retailers were hoping for to cover the red ink in their P&L accounts.

The number of folk visiting stores was up 3.5 per cent to 307.67 million on the day after Thanksgiving - the peak sales day for the year - but the amount of greenbacks going through the tills fell 1.8 per cent to $11.2bn.

"Black Friday continues to be an important day in retail," said Bill Martin, founder at ShopperTrak, which coughed the estimates.

But he said that this year retailers brought forward opening hours to midnight on Thanksgiving Day in anticipation of happy shoppers full of turkey and booze engaging in a spending frenzy.

This could have skewed the numbers, the retail analyst warned. "So while foot traffic did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that is usually meant for Friday," said Martin.

Punters in America's midwest did their best to help out ailing retail outlets with footfall up nearly 13 per cent. Traffic in the west, south and northeast regions climbed 11.3 per cent, 8.7 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.

This is the first dip in figures provided by ShopperTrak since the recession hit in 2008 and caps off a challenging 2012 for the retail sector in Europe and the US.

Best Buy shuttered a bunch of big box stores in the UK at the start of the year and subsequently in the US, typifying the tough ride that even the largest players experienced.

In Blighty, the future of veteran retailer Comet is still up in the air, with administrator Deloitte still seeking a buyer willing to take on more than a handful of stores. ®

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