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Are Tablets Taking Over E-Commerce?

Posted on 11.14.2011

When the iPad was originally announced, the critics were harsh, and most people didn't seem to see the purpose of yet another handheld device that didn't have the same computing power as a laptop, nor the portability (or ability to make calls) like a smartphone.

Now, studies show that for iPad owners (or owners of another comparable tablet device, which is less likely at the moment), the device is the standby for most of the users' computing needs, especially on the Web.

For reading, browsing and multimedia consumption, owners are becoming more and more accustomed to picking up their tablets instead of phones or laptops. And, as recent trends have begun to show, these devices are also beginning to be the first choice of owners for online shopping, as well.

Mobile advertising company Jumptap, in conjunction with comScore, recently released Wave Two of its ongoing research project titled Understanding Mobile Audience, which "shows that tablet owners are almost as likely as PC and laptop owners to use their tablet device to make purchases." According to the study, a whole 63 percent of tablet owners make purchases on their devices; this is compared to 83 percent of PC owners who shop on their computers.

The news of the tablet influence on e-commerce isn't new. In fact, it's been covered at Website Magazine before (a couple of times). However, there are still some important statistics the report brings to light concerning the tablet revolution.

It's clearly a younger set of users (those hip Millennials) that are shopping on tablet devices. Of "young" tablet owners, between the ages of 18-34, almost 80 percent made purchases on their tablets; the middle-aged set (35-54) saw about 50 percent buying things on the devices, and just 43 percent of the 55+ crowd made tablet-based purchases. These are very similar to trends that we see with smartphone usage, as well. So far, the top three most popular purchases on tablets have been event tickets, daily deals (specifically from sites like Groupon) and clothing/apparel.

Perhaps the most curious finding in the study dealt with security. While most users seem to agree that they find PCs safer than mobile devices, many of them also feel that tablets are, for some reason, more secure than smartphones.

Also, though they are making these purchases on mobile devices, many of them prefer to shop on them at home.

It looks like these trends will be absolutely essential for e-commerce companies to pay attention to, because tablet commerce will probably be the future of online shopping now that Barnes & Noble and Amazon are both coming out with their own (more affordable) iPad competitors. Amazon, particularly, seems poised to jump directly into marketing for the tablet, altering much of their website in anticipation for the release of the Kindle Fire.


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