Mobile shopping hits Thanksgiving Day high

More shoppers than ever got a virtual jump on Black Friday this year, snapping up online deals with smartphones and tablets on Thursday without even losing sight of — or a seat at — the Thanksgiving Day table.

Internet retailers recorded 17.4 percent more sales Thursday compared with the previous year’s Thanksgiving Day in large part due to a spike in buying on mobile devices, according to IBM Smarter Commerce, which tracks online holiday shopping activity.

The number of consumers making Thanksgiving purchases with mobile devices rose 65.3 percent from last year, according to IBM. It also found that tablet users were big after-dinner spenders, with users of Apple’s iPad making up 10.7 percent of mobile activity for the day.


Boston-based private sale site Rue La La said it saw a surge in its Thanksgiving Day traffic. Its sales made on mobile devices jumped 75 percent over the previous year, the company reported Friday. More than half of its mobile sales were made on iPads. It expects a 50 percent increase in holiday weekend sales over the previous year.

‘‘The iPad has transformed holiday shopping traditions, becoming the perfect antidote to the ‘post turkey dinner coma’,’’ said Ben Fischman, Rue La La chief executive, in a press release.

The rise of the mobile shopper may be the big story this holiday, with more consumers not only using smartphones to buy but also to comparison shop. The Cambridge firm Forrester Research reported that 31 percent of mobile phone owners use their devices to research products.

Being able to shop discretely is one major allure the smartphone as a shopping tool, said Mitra Morgan, cofounder of Joss & Main, a Boston-based Web store that ran several Thanksgiving Day sales. “Someone could actually be shopping from the table.’’

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