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Business of the Holidays

Procrastination Nation: Online Sales Jump on Christmas Day

The 'Grinch' didn't steal Christmas; smartphones did. After unwrapping presents and chowing down on holiday feasts, Americans fired up their electronic devices — and kept on shopping. According to data from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, we’re increasingly a nation of Christmas Day consumers.

“It’s the biggest traffic day for mobile we’ve seen,” said Jay Henderson, director of IBM Smarter Commerce. Online sales on Christmas day were up more than 8 percent from last year. “What’s driving a lot of this growth is mobile numbers,” Henderson said.

IBM found that just over 57 percent of online traffic (which includes both browsing and buying) on Christmas Day came from mobile devices, up nearly 20 percent from last year and the first time more than half of Christmas Day traffic came from mobile devices versus computers. About a third of the online sales came from phones or tablets, and IBM found that people tend to browse more on phones, but buy more on tablets.

Besides procrastinators searching for last-minute gifts, Henderson suggested much of Thursday’s online shopping Thursday was people buying things for themselves, either searching for deals or purchasing things on their wish lists they hadn’t been given.

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-- Martha C. White, NBC News contributor