Smartphones accounted for nearly half of mobile sales in the run-up to dads’ day, a much larger percentage than last year.

Evidence keeps accumulating that consumers are increasingly comfortable completing purchases on their smartphones.

That includes when they’re buying presents for Father’s Day, IBM reported today. Its Digital Analytics Benchmark report, which is based on data from IBM online retailer clients, shows that smartphone gift purchases in the period leading to Father’s Day increased 93.6% over 2014 and accounted for 12.3% of online gift purchases this year, versus 13.3% for tablets. Last year tablets accounted for twice as big a portion of online Father’s Day gift purchases, so the gap narrowed dramatically this year.

Those results mirror recent data from comScore Inc., which measures consumer online activity. ComScore reported in a presentation at the IRCE e-commerce show in Chicago earlier this month that smartphone sales, after averaging just over 11% of online sales for most of 2014, stepped up to 13.0% in the fourth quarter and 15.4% in the first quarter of this year. ComScore attributes that to retailers offering better mobile sites and apps and the larger screens of smartphones making it easier to shop on a phone.

Smartphones and tablets together narrowed the gap with desktops in traffic to retail sites in the period before Father’s Day, with mobile devices accounting for 48% of online traffic and computers 51.7%. Desktops accounted for 74.3% of sales versus 25.7% for mobile devices. And the average order value of a PC purchase was higher, at $115.12 versus $93.14 for smartphones and tablets.

Mom remains first in consumers’ hearts, at least in terms of how much they spent to celebrate her special day. Online purchases in advance of Mother’s Day increased 15.4% over last year and purchases averaged $114.17. Father’s Day online gift sales grew 5.4% year over year, and the average online purchase was $108.29, IBM says. Dad did lead in one department: Consumers on average purchased 4.2 gifts for Father’s Day, versus 3.8 for Mother’s Day.


Here are some other findings from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report:

  • 83% of online retail sites in the sports apparel and gear category and 75% in home goods displayed large, high-resolution images of gift products. Online sales of home goods increased 22.6% over the same period last year, while retailers in the sports apparel and gear category grew sales 11.9%.
  • 86% of home goods retailers, 64% of department stores and 53% of specialty retailers enabled shoppers to check inventory in local stores and pick up items ordered online. Online sales for specialty retailers increased 12.6% and for department stores 9.2% over the same period last year
  • 89% of home goods merchants, 64% of specialty retailers and 54% of department stores provided complementary, nonproduct-specific content, such as how-to information and buying guides, on their sites.