Reston, Va.--Online sales in the months of November and December rose 13 percent year-over-year, bolstered by the increasing number of consumers shopping on smartphones and tablets.

Analytics firm comScore reported that online holiday spending from desktop computers in the United States hit $56.4 billion, falling short of its projection of $58.3 billion.

Spending from desktop computers was particularly soft toward the end of the season, comScore reported, which, interestingly enough, was the same time some brick-and-mortar retailers reported an uptick in business.

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And while desktop sales slowed, mobile sales accelerated in November-December.

ComScore said its preliminary estimates show that consumers bought a total of $12.7 billion in goods from their smartphones and tablets this holiday season, a “staggering” 59 percent year-over-year increase that well exceeded its 47 percent growth projection.

Mobile commerce accounted for an estimated 18 percent of total digital commerce in November and December, up from 13 percent last year.

Commenting on the results, comScore Chairman Emeritus Gian Fulgoni said, “I believe that we’ve seen paradigm shift in 2016 where the future of retail will increasingly be defined by consumers’ behavior on mobile.”

While the comScore report didn’t dissect the exact amount spent on smartphones vs. tablets, the NRF’s State of Retailing Online 2016 stated that smartphones now lead tablets in terms of both sales and traffic online.

According to the study, which is conducted by Shop.org, Forrester Research Inc. and Bizrate Insights, retailers surveyed said that smartphone sales accounted for 17 percent of their total online sales in 2015, versus 14 percent for tablets.

Sales from smartphones were up 53 percent year-over-year, while tablet sales grew at a slower rate, 32 percent. 

Tablets, however, are more widely used in stores by sales associates when they’re helping customers, the study found.


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