February 14, 2014, 3:37 PM

Tablets and department stores lure online shoppers before Valentine’s Day

IBM says that the week before the lovers’ holiday brought an 8% year-over-year increase in e-commerce sales.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Consumers were showing their love for e-retailers and tablets in the days leading up to the Feast of St. Valentine today.

According to the “IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark—Valentine’s Edition,” U.S. online shoppers between Feb. 7 and Thursday had increased their spending 8% compared with the corresponding period in 2013.

Year-over-year e-commerce growth by product category stood at:

• 20% for gifts

• 17% for apparel

• 15% for health and beauty

The report also says that online sales through department stores increased 34% year over year, with those stores’ mobile sales increasing 45% year over year.

Mobile served as the vehicle through which many consumers sought to impress their loved ones. IBM says that mobile traffic in the week before Valentine’s Day accounted for 36.8% of all online traffic. That represents a 39.6% increase over the same week in 2013.

Love-struck or love-hopeful consumers also purchased more on mobile for Valentine’s Day this year. Smartphones and tablets accounted for 17.2% of all online sales in the week before the holiday, IBM says. That’s up 42.9% over the same period in 2013. Tablets accounted for 11.4% of online sales via mobile, with smartphones making up the remainder. Tablet spending averaged $135.26 per order compared with $114 per order for purchases from smartphones.

While Valentine’s Day may serve as a day of self-enforced loneliness for some people, other consumers were feeling social earlier in the week. Shoppers referred to retail sites via Pinterest spent $147.74 per order on average, versus $125.24 per order on average when they arrived via  Facebook, IBM says.



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