But computers are still tops in conversions, says Monetate’s new e-commerce report.

Mobile traffic in the fourth quarter of 2012 peaked on Christmas Day, when almost one-third of all e-commerce traffic came from smartphones (16.05%) and tablets (15.57%), according to Monetate, a provider of personalization, testing and analytics technology to web retailers. The rest of the traffic came from desktop and laptop computers. That supports other  data that suggest consumers are more likely to reach for a mobile device to browse the web when they are at leisure, usually on weekends and holidays, says Evan LePointe, vice president of digital marketing agency Search Discovery Inc., who provided commentary in Monetate’s report.

The company’s Q4 e-commerce benchmark report analyses data from more than 100 million online shopping sessions from Monetate clients and compares same-store data between quarters and year over year, it says.

Although mobile traffic is growing, consumers remain most likely to buy on a computer. In the five-day shopping period that began on Thanksgiving and lasted through Cyber Monday, computers were the only type of device that drew more conversions each day than on the same days last year. Cyber Monday proved to be the biggest day for conversions on all devices in 2012. The breakdown for each type of device, with its conversion rate in 2011 and 2012 is:

  • Computers, 7.05%, 8.22%;
  • Tablets, 5.78%, 6.31%;
  • Smartphones, 1.47%, 1.83%.

In December, conversions peaked on Monday, Dec. 17, Free Shipping Day, a five-year-old online shopping event. That day also produced the second-highest conversion rate—5.61%—after Cyber Monday (7.42%) in 2012, Monetate says. On that day, the Monday after Thanksgiving, computers had a 6.30% conversion rate; tablets, 5.01%; and smartphones, 1.58%, according to the report.

However, the smaller the screen, the more online shoppers spent on average with a device in Q4, Monetate says. In the quarter, average order values on computers were $98.72; tablets, $104.30; and smartphones, $113.95. That ranking held for each of the top three sales days in the holiday period: Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day, the report says.


Monetate also tallied the average order values in Q4 originating from various marketing sources. Search took first place, with $97.54, followed by e-mail, with $89.64, and social media, with $69.46, the report says.

Four retailers in the Top 500 Guide list Monetate as providing their personalization technology and services. The company ranks fifth among personalization providers in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers guide.