All those mobile payment increases from PayPal, GSI, and eBay are starting to make sense. Shoppers really were going crazy this year compared to last: Thanksgiving Day online traffic increased 71 percent in 2012 versus 2011.

The top 500 retail sites received more than 181 million total US visits, up from 176 million last year. The holiday week of online traffic to the top retail sites increased a decent 8 percent on average and retail traffic was up 46 percent from Wednesday to Thursday. Experian has the latest numbers, including this interesting breakdown of the top five retail sites:

experian chart Thanksgiving 2012 traffic to retail sites up 71% over 2011: Amazon leads, Walmart and Target follow

That chart may be a bit hard to make out, but here’s the point to take home: Amazon dominated, but Walmart was close behind. In fact, Amazon did great both on Wednesday and on Thursday, while Walmart saw significant more traffic on Thanksgiving day than the day before. In fact, the remaining three retail sites saw the same: rounding out the top five, we have Target, Best Buy, and Sears.

It’s hard to say why Amazon didn’t see as big of a jump as its competitors, but it doesn’t really matter as the company still led the pack. Best Buy saw the biggest day-over-day growth at 104 percent, and Sears actually jumped up into the top 5 after ranking 6th the day before.

The biggest disappointment in this data is the following note in the chart: “rankings based on weekly data that does not include mobile traffic.” As mobile becomes more and more important, its impact on retail sites cannot be disregarded. If the data was included, would Amazon still be the top dog?

See also – Thanksgiving breaks Instagram records: Over 10M photos shared at a rate of up to 226 per second and Windows 8 store adds 7,000 apps in two weeks to pass 20,000 mark, almost 18,000 are free

Image credit: Robert Linder