Once upon a time, Black Friday sales actually started the day after Thanksgiving. By and large, that's no longer the case as merchants have pushed the start of the holiday shopping season a day earlier to Thanksgiving Day.

I've heard from a couple of people that ventured out into the madness yesterday that the occasion was a bit tamer than in previous years. With a number of major retailers offering their doorbuster sales online this year, many elected to stay home and shop from their computers or, as data from IBM indicates, mobile devices.

Using its real-time benchmark analytics dashboard, IBM found that overall sales were up 14 percent versus Thanksgiving 2013. Interestingly enough, however, the average online order amount was down from $132 to just $125.25 this year.

Looking closer, online sales at the nation's largest department stores were up 29.8 percent.

While IBM's data doesn't reveal how much merchandise was sold, it does provide a snapshot of how people shopped. This year, mobile device traffic shot up 10 percent with a third of all sales being completed on smartphones and tablets.

The popularity of mobile device shopping isn't showing any signs of slowing down today, either. Access to Best Buy's website has been spotty at best through much of the day. Unsurprisingly, a representative for the electronics retailer said a concentrated spike in mobile traffic was to blame.