The Dawn of the Tablet Shopper
Published July 25, 2012 Share
From my knowledge of cavemen, gained mostly from “The Flintstones” and Geico commercials, once man moved away from cave paintings, tablets became the medium of choice for communication. And since most trends are cyclical (which is why I’m still holding onto my neon MC Hammer pants from the 80s), tablets are once again making their way back to the forefront of communication – in this case, in the computer form.
According to a recent Forrester Research blog post, 375 million tablet computers will sell globally in 2016, an increase from 56 million in 2011. Assuming that people upgrade their tablets every three years, that puts an estimated 760 million tablets in use by 2016 (compared to a forecasted 2 billion desktop PCs). With this kind of penetration, it seems fair to say that people will be changing how they interact with the online world. And because a big part of this interaction is shopping, it seems logical that they will change how they shop. Which explains what we are seeing this year.
As reported by a 2012 study by IBM, sales from mobile devices doubled to 11% in December 2011 compared to 2010. Leading the way in this category was the Apple iPad, the No. 1 tablet in the world by a large margin. IBM reported that shoppers using the iPad drove more retail purchases than any other device, with conversion rates at 6.3% compared to just 3.1% for other mobile devices.
In the Adobe Insights whitepaper “The Impact of Tablet Visitors on Retail Websites,” Adobe discovered even more interesting information. In the paper, Adobe reveals that during 2011 tablet conversion rates rested at 2.3%, just under traditional computers at 2.5% and well ahead of smartphones (0.6%). Adobe also reported that average order values for online shoppers using tablets topped all three types of shoppers at $123, about 21% more than traditional PC online visitors ($102) and 54% more than smartphone visitors ($80).
Here at Shopatron, our findings support these studies. Our reports show that conversion rates for tablet shoppers are just behind desktop-based shoppers (about 5-8% lower). And thus far in 2012, about 6% of all Shopatron client orders came from iPad shoppers.
According to Adobe’s research, the emergence of tablets as shopping devices can be tied to three factors. One hypothesis is that tablet users are more affluent, with 29% of tablet owners coming from households with incomes above $75,000. The second theory notes that tablets are more likely to be used for downtime shopping. Approximately 34% of tablet users shop on the weekends compared to only 24% of PC users who shop on weekends. And the third, and potentially most important factor, comes down to good ole user experience. Over 52% of tablet owners reported that they prefer to shop online with their tablets versus 40% that prefer to shop on a PC.
So what does all this mean for brands and online retailers?
It seems pretty obvious to me: Make sure your website is optimized for tablet shoppers. In fact, regardless of the shoppers preferred device, you should ensure that your website’s shopping experience is intuitive, looks sharp, and above all, is easy and fun to shop. This will keep them coming back when they are in the office, at home on the couch, or even in the aisle of a competitor’s store.
(Now it is time for us to admit we are all guilty of “showrooming”, i.e. checking out a product at Target before buying it for less at Amazon.com. I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help myself…)
And while you’re making sure your websites work well for tablet users this weekend, I’ll be doing some online shopping on my Android Tablet between games of Words with Friends and DrawSomething – all while shuffling around in my parachute pants (Cant Touch This!).