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Mobile Momentum

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IBM is introducing a new economic indicator, a measurement to track both online retail sales and consumer sentiment via social media to provide the most accurate gauge of the increasingly digital economy.

Issued quarterly, it is designed to serve as the online companion to the Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau. The most notable development during the Q1 period was the continued growth of mobile commerce, which resumed the momentum established in December, accounting for 13.3 percent of online retail sales, double the figure seen in Q1 2011.

Several other trends of importance to chief marketing officers, e-commerce leaders and customer service professionals were identified in IBM’s online economic indicator. Online retail sales grew 6.3 percent in March to provide a strong end to Q1, and department stores continued to catch the attention of consumers, with sales growing 20.4 percent.