Online spending by Cyber Monday's close was up nearly 17% year over year, with a record $6.59 billion, making it the largest online shopping day to date, reported Adobe Analytics.  

Mobile zoomed up as well, to some $2 billion, broken down roughly by $1.40 billion sales on smartphones, and $0.60 billion, on tablets.

"Mobile shopping [on Cyber Monday] was dominant both in the morning and afternoon, and desktop only staged a comeback in the evening when people were home. Smartphones have become the de facto device for mobile shopping, while tablets continue to be more used as entertainment and gaming devices," said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement.

"The mobile experience keeps getting smoother, and the retailer is able to capitalize on mobile phone features," Tamara Gaffney, senior director of Adobe Digital Insights told TheStreet in an interview.

Other results from Adobe were:

  • Top-selling items on Cyber Monday included the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4/4 Pro, Hatchimals & Colleggtibles figurines, PJ Masks, Apple [made by Apple Inc. (AAPL) ] AirPods, streaming devices like Google Chromecast [made by Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) ] and Roku Inc. (ROKU) , and Super Mario Odyssey, the video game.
  • TVs were the most discounted item on Black Friday and continued to see a large price decrease into Cyber Monday (discounted 20.7% on average). Toys hit their lowest price decrease of the season at 18.9%, followed by computers at 14.4%.
  • Average order volume (AOV) was slightly higher for Cyber Monday compared to last year at $133 (up 0.1%). For purchases made on smartphones, Apple iOS led with an AOV of $123, in comparison to Google Android at $112.
  • The conversion rate (the rate at which browsing results in a sale) on smartphones was at  3.5%, a double-digit growth (10.1% year-over-year increase); on tablets, 6.4%, up 8%; and desktop 7.1%, up 7.6%.
  • Search drove the majority of online sales on Cyber Monday, accounting for 42.6%.

With mobile going gangbusters, TheStreet examined the drivers behind its runaway shopping success.

A better mousetrap.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers are finally catching on that their customers want a seamless, or what's called these days, a "frictionless," shopping experience. This is something Home Depot Inc. (HD) figured out years ago by meshing, not separating, shopping online and by mobile devices, and in its stores.

Macy's Inc. (M) , Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) , Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM) are also retailers with large physical presences that have streamlined their mobile experiences to make it easier to buy on the run.

Mobile shopping innovations are coming from smaller retailers, too. For example, La Colombe Coffee Roasters offers gift recipients 48 hours after a purchase before shipping. It cuts down on exchanges and may convert a new customer by giving them what they want, not what someone else chose for them.

Smaller retailers like La Colombe are doing well amid the mobile enhancements, according to Gaffney. "Small retailers had a 3.5% conversion rate using smartphones, compared with the 1.9% rate for bigger retailers," said Gaffney.

Comfort with mobile shopping.

Growing customer comfort with mobile shopping also accounts for the upswing in mobile purchases. First, consumers got used to making online purchases, then they switched to mobile, and they like it, said Gaffney.

Mobile is getting so widespread, Gaffney said, that she's noticed men shopping on their phones in malls, while waiting for women they're with to finish up in stores.

Enhanced tech; mobile shopping ease.

Some smartphones automatically store credit card information, which with some models like Apple's iPhone can be unlocked by placing your fingerprint on the screen. No need to type in email addresses, passwords and user names using small keys on a screen.

"The retailers have gotten better about using that intelligence," added Gaffney, and that fuels mobile sales.

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Holiday Survival Guide - TheStreet Special Report

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