This post was first published by Jackie Paris on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Looking back to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, did you use a mobile or social platform to make your purchases? While it was expected that mobile would make a good showing in 2012, its 21 percent increase over last year’s numbers was quite the jump.It was also somewhat of a surprise since sales via social media during this year’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday did not enjoy similar growth. Black Friday sales via social media decreased from more than 35 percent last year to only .34 percent this year, and, on Cyber Monday, the biggest day of the year for online retailers, social media sites saw online sales of only .41 percent.

What are the reasons behind mobile commerce’s surge in popularity? According to the IBM 2012 Holiday Benchmark Reports, one of the key drivers is the iPad, which generated more traffic than any other tablet or smart phone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping during Black Friday this year. This was followed by the iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android at 5.5 percent. In terms of tablet traffic, the iPad dominated at 88.3 percent followed by the Barnes and Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.

Another contributing factor to mobile commerce’s success this holiday season was multiscreen shopping. Consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices (58 percent via smartphones and 41 percent via tablets) simultaneously to get the best bargains on Black Friday this year. Kudos to those who actually did this; you give new meaning to the term multi-tasking!

Since the majority of people, myself included, are already glued to their cell phones and tablets, it makes sense to turn to these devices when shopping, and I believe that mobile commerce will increase in popularity as long as it continues to simplify and streamline purchasing experiences for customers.  If “social shopping” – i.e. retail being driven via social network referrals on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, is to catch up, perhaps it would be beneficial for these social networks to find better ways to position themselves in the eCommerce space and make their deals more visible and enticing to customers.