Mae Anderson

NEW YORK: If the beginning of the holiday season is any indication, it could be a merry mobile Christmas for shoppers.

For the first time, there’s expected to be more people visiting retailers’ websites through their smartphones than on desktop computers or tablets during the first weekend of the holiday shopping season that begins on Thanksgiving Day.

Mobile traffic during the five-day start to what is typically the busiest shopping period of the year is expected to reach 56.9 percent of total traffic, up from 48.5 percent last year, according to IBM Watson.

And even though everyone who “window shops” on their phones isn’t going to buy, mobile sales are jumping too. Mobile sales are expected to account for 36.1 percent of online sales, up from 27 percent last year, according to IBM Watson Trend.

The bumps in traffic and sales come as retailers try to make the mobile shopping experience easier by improving their apps and adding coupons and other deals. Shoppers also have gotten more comfortable browsing retailers’ websites as smartphone screen sizes have gotten bigger, making it easier for them to see photos of the items they want to buy.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, expects that 75 percent of U.S. traffic to its website will come from mobile devices this holiday shopping season.