I’ve always assumed that the person sitting next to me on the train was just using their tablet to read or play a game. Little did I know that they were also shopping. And they’re buying more when using their tablet than their smartphone.
This is surprising, considering that U.S. smartphone owners outnumber tablet owners by nearly 40%. Yet while there are fewer tablet owners, more of them end up making purchases, and at a higher transaction volume than via smartphones, according to a new study by eMarketer. Having a tablet almost guarantees that the person uses it for ecommerce, notes eMarketer, and the majority of online retail sales this year will be made on tablets, compared with 35% of online retails sales expected to be made on smartphone devices.
We noted this trend in a previous blog post where we talked about the growing percentage of online sales driven by mobile devices, and the importance of considering the impact of tablets on customer experience, marketing, and sales. eMarketer’s latest forecast takes this consideration one step further by projecting that by 2017, tablets’ share of US retail online retail sales will rise to 71.5%, vs. 27% for smartphones.
In the narrow sense of capturing sales, tablets will make up the bulk of new sales and will widen an already big lead over smartphones, says eMarketer. They acknowledge, however, that even though ecommerce via smartphones will not increase as quickly as via tablets, smartphones are highly influencing the shopping process, both online and in-store. And with more than 163 million people in the U.S. owning smartphones (according to comScore) the importance of this mobile device cannot be discounted.
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