Almost 50% of UK Christmas Day purchases made on mobile devices

UK consumers hooked on mobile devices almost outspent all other channels over the festive period with Apple iOS owners splurging more than their Android counterparts despite fewer users.

Related: Black Friday & Cyber Monday UK: The shopping bonanza as it happened

IBM’s UK Online Christmas Readiness Report found that online retail spending increased by 11.8 per cent in Q4 2013 with Cyber Monday [2 December] and Black Friday [29 November] showing their strongest growth yet, increasingly mirroring North America.

The report, which is based on IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark, tracked the undeniable rise of smartphones and tablets in the online retail space that accounted for 46.7 per cent of all site sales on Christmas Day and 58.9 per cent of traffic to retail sites came via mobile devices.

Tablets saw a higher average order value over the festive period as owners spent £86.28 compared to smartphone owners forking out £82.13. Looking at the two major platforms showed that iOS owners spent an average of £85.05 per order compared to Android users spending £83.18. This is despite the fact that Android holds a 58.2 per cent share of the smartphone market compared to iOS’ 30.2 per cent segment.

It has led IBM to recommend that online retailers dedicate a lot more time to creating a retail experience tailored to each specific device and it’s something that is critical to converting more customers from browsers to buyers.

“If websites are not optimised for mobile, for example, shoppers will quickly give up trying to browse. Retailers need to understand consumer shopping 'journeys' - that is, gain a clear understanding of which technologies they are using, how and when they are using them and how these merge with the store,” stated James Lovell, smarter commerce retail consultant for Europe at IBM.

Social channels, which could provide a rich source of growth for retailers, currently only account for 0.5 per cent of traffic and a tiny 0.1 per cent of sales are achieved through the likes of Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and others.

Related: Stay safe on Cyber Monday: 5 scams you need to know about

Global spending figures showed that from Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday some $5.3 billion [£3.24 billion] was spent by consumers and this coming year will eclipse that further as deal-savvy online shoppers flock to online stores to find the best deals.