Black Friday shoppers took to their smartphones this year

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NEW YORK – Black Friday sales soared on portable devices.

Investing in better apps and mobile shopping sites paid off for retailers this year, IBM said Saturday, and digital sales were up 21.5% from last year.

IBM does not report total sales figures, but Adobe said Friday evening that Americans were on pace to spend more than $2.7 billion online Friday. That would mark a 14% increase from last year based on Adobe’s tracking methods.

Both companies said shoppers filled their virtual shopping carts on their smartphones and tablets more than laptop and desktop computers for the first time ever this year.

“US consumers have turned into digital shopping ninjas,” Adobe analyst Tamara Gaffney said.

Adobe also predicted that online spending on Thursday and Friday totaled a record $4.45 billion.

Reports on in-store sales are expected later this weekend.

Online customers clamored for hot-ticket toys and gadgets. Samsung TVs, the iPad Air 2, Xbox, Lego Dimension sets, Star Wars Lego toys and Shopkin Dolls were among the most popular items on Black Friday, Adobe said.

IBM said smartphones were the device-of-choice for browsing deals and accounted for nearly 45% of total traffic. But on average, tablet shoppers spent more.

Tablet orders averaged $136, more than desktop, laptop and smartphone orders.